Best to lead Lions against Chiefs

Robin Mc Bryde hails ‘proud moment’ as Wales quartet receive Lions call

Robin Mc Bryde hails ‘proud moment’ as Wales quartet receive Lions call

Opportunity knocked for the Lions starting XV in Rotorua on Saturday, and in nearly every combination and area of the game they grasped both it and the Maori by the scruff of the neck.

In all honesty, it was reassuring too, to see Gatland enjoying himself despite the pressure which will come on this week ahead of the first test against the All Blacks at Eden Park, with Hansen no doubt polishing a few more one-liners of his own.

"The frustrating thing for us is the amount of blocking that's going on", Gatland said "It makes it hard to complete attacking opportunities and situations".

Reserves: 16.Kristian Dacey, 17.Allan Dell, 18.Tomas Francis, 19.Cory Hill, 20.Alun Wyn Jones, 21.Gareth Davies, 22.Finn Russell, 23.Tommy Seymour.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has been firing barbs at Gatland, accusing him of having only one style of play, claiming inside knowledge of the Lions reinforcements and saying New Zealand's thumping 78-0 over Samoa on Friday was "just the start".

"Players have got to stay on form, be positive, confident". We're doing that and we put down a marker with the way we played, the way we defended and with our set-piece.

All six players are on the bench on Tuesday.

"For Sam, look, we were hoping he was going to be part of the 23 against the Crusaders".

Joseph also has the pace, footwork and eye for the try-line that the Lions have occasionally lacked on this tour. Unfortunately he rolled his ankle a little bit so hadn't recovered in time.

Leigh Halfpenny must complete the head-injury protocols to start at full-back against New Zealand in Auckland on Saturday - so Liam Williams has been handed a chance to impress at 15 against the Chiefs.

British And Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland is relishing the opportunity to manage his team against the Waikato Chiefs this week. "So there will be some tough debates and discussions to have on the final make-up of what the back-row is going to be for Saturday".

"It's a great opportunity for Elliot and I think he's done pretty well", Gatland said.

"We know what potential he has, but he hasn't quite filled that at the moment".

Gatland has been strongly criticized in Britain for summoning so many replacements to a squad which already numbered 40 fit players and which would seem to have the resources necessary to cope with the five remaining matches in New Zealand.

"He's been accurate and he gives us a left-foot option in terms of our kicking strategy if we want to play territory and exit".

Chiefs: Shaun Stevenson, Toni Pulu, Tim Nanai-Williams, Johnny Faauli, Solomon Alaimalo, Stephen Donald (captain), Finlay Christie; Tom Sanders, Lachlan Boshier, Mitchell Brown, Michael Allardice, Dominic Bird, Nepo Laulala, Liam Polwort, Siegried Fisi'ihoi.

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