Sabato, 20 Aprile, 2019

Lions name team to face Maori All Blacks

Will Greenwood and Scott Quinnell discuss the Lions' defeat to the Highlanders Lions name team to face Maori All Blacks
Pammachio Corsino | 25 Giugno, 2017, 13:26

The headline selection is that Johnny Sexton starts ahead of Owen Farrell at fly-half, with many expecting the Englishman to wear the No 10 shirt just a week ahead of the first Test.

Waisake Naholo hopes he has done enough to make the All Blacks starting line-up for the British and Irish Lions' Test matches.

The 29-year-old suffered a head injury in the Lions' 12-3 Crusaders win on Saturday, however, and missed Tuesday's 23-22 loss to the Highlanders.

Head Coach Warren Gatland says that at this stage of the Tour it is important to build on the foundations that have been laid in the last few weeks. England also toured the South American country in 1910, winning their only Test with a squad containing three Scottish players which was in some quarters branded as "Combined British Isles", at the same time as the Lions' trip to South Africa.

Ireland loose forward CJ Stander put his name into the mix with a titanic performance at number eight, while tour captain Sam Warburton grew into the game and was much better in the second half.

So Lions boss Gatland will be desperate not to have another of his blue-chip performers, in Farrell, entering the week of the first Test under a fitness cloud.

Hansen said that he has heard from sources that Gatland is recruiting more players from the United Kingdom for injury cover and to strengthen his squad.

"We felt Owen's had a bit of rugby at the moment", said Gatland.

Gatland said accuracy let the tourists down, especially when it came to handling the Highlanders' trademark attacking kicking game.


The hosts tested fullback Jared Payne under the high ball early but he proved up to the challenge, prompting them to send the ball wide.

"They'll be wanting to do that in all three Test matches and it nearly takes a bit of a shine off everything they've achieved in the last couple of years if they don't".

"We've just been caught on one or two occasions, and I think the players will learn from those occasions".

Sam Warburton, who had a storming second half, showed his power to get over for their third try, with Biggar converting to give them a 22-13 lead.

"We know we're going to have our backs against the wall every single game when we're here, and we've got to stick together as a 41-man squad, the staff and everyone".

'We've got to make sure we're not fully showing our hand.

J Lowe, N Milner-Skudder, M Proctor, C Ngatai, R Ioane, D McKenzie, T Kerr-Barlow, K Hames, A Dixon (captain), B May, J Wheeler, T Franklin, A Ioane, E Dixon, L Messam.

"We have named a strong group who all have good clarity on how we want to play this match against the Lions".

Tuesday's game was like a Test match, the speed, intensity and collisions. When talking about the importance of the Maori match, O'Mahony said: "It's not just for ourselves but everything the Lions stands for".

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