Lunedi, 25 Giugno, 2018

Sam Warburton returns to captain Lions against Highlanders

Pammachio Corsino | 26 Giugno, 2017, 01:36

10 June 2017; Conor Murray of the British & Irish Lions during the match between Crusaders and the British & Irish Lions at AMI Stadium in Christchurch, New Zealand.

"I watched the Highlanders against the Crusaders right at the start of the season", he said.

"Kids here also play with ball in hand from the moment they first play the game".

Easy to say that after a convincing victory, of course, but McGeechan is a Lions legend and knows how these tours work.

Henry was Lions coach in Australia in 2001 and Warren Gatland cited his mistakes as an example of what not to do with the touring team, as he divided the squad into two groups - test players and the rest.

"It feels it's audition time for the Test series".

Warren Gatland has named a new starting XV from the one that outmuscled the Crusaders 12-3 last night to do battle with the Highlanders in Dunedin on Tuesday. But on Saturday Canterbury hardly threw one cut-out pass, and in the end they were forced to play the way the Lions wanted.

The Lions went tryless and held the Crusaders tryless in Saturday's match, leaving a target for Gatland's critics who say the tourists' lack of try-scoring ability is of concern. He's the only man to have coached both the All Blacks and the Lions. "I've received this role as tour captain and I know there's every chance that I might not even get involved in that first Test because there's every other player", he told reporters.

Flyhalf Owen Farrell kicked three first-half penalties to one by Richie Mo'unga for the Crusaders, and the Lions then added another for the only points of the second half in a huge confidence boost a fortnight out from the first test against New Zealand.


"I'll be honest with Gats and he will be honest with me".

"We can be pleased with our defence, we probably need to be more clinical when we do get linebreaks but we are happy with our turnaround tonight", Lions captain Alun Wyn Jones said.

"When I play well and I am match-fit, I am aggressive in the tackle and I'll contribute handful of good carries", said Warburton when asked to list his qualities.

Instead, the Lions pressured the hosts from the off as they downed the most successful team in Super Rugby history.

But Gatland has Warburton back, having recovered from an ankle niggle to join former Highlander James Haskell and CJ Stander in the loose forwards.

We have Rory Best, Iain Henderson, O'Brien, Henshaw and Payne watching that First Test, in Auckland, in their civvies but two weeks is a long time in sport.

"Every system that you have - whether it be attack or defence - is going to be adjusted to the quality of player that you've got", said Farrell. "I'm desperate to get another win and kick on again so the confidence can grow".

The Lions will not be able to afford to miss such opportunities against the All Blacks, but at least they created some.

Jared Payne, who picked up a calf injury in their opener, starts at fullback with Tommy Seymour and Jack Nowell on the wings.

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