Dragons lock Hill named on bench for Lions clash with Chiefs

Lawrence Kim
June 19, 2017

The war of words ahead of the first test between the All Blacks and British and Irish Lions is building with Lions coach Warren Gatland challenging referees to stop New Zealand's off-the-ball "blocking".

Tour captain Sam Warburton's position also looks to be under scrutiny for the test after an ankle injury stymied his return to the field on tour, while Ireland's Sean O'Brien has been impressive in the big matches.

The Lions' defense was also sound though seldom tested by a Maori lineup which contained some of the most risky of New Zealand's Super Rugby players - Damian McKenzie at flyhalf, James Lowe at fullback, and All Black Rieko Ioane on the left wing.

None of the new players is expected to be in contention for a place in the team for Saturday's first Test against the All Blacks, but Laidlaw said that his half-back partner still had a significant contribution to make.

"He is a little bit more anxious than he normally is, saying these comments about us, things he knows about or doesn't know about, that is normally a sign of a man that is a little bit anxious", Gatland said of Hansen.

There has been a lot said about the validity of the style of rugby played by the Lions. So Mr. Dependable, Leigh Halfpenny will hope to recreate his excellence from the 2013 tour of Australia.

"So for the players who might not be in the first test have to stay alive because they might get a chance in the second or third tests".

England head coach Eddie Jones has lead the attack with players from England and Ireland overlooked in preference of those from sides touring in more geographically favourable countries.

"There's no doubt that there's some pressure on certain players and certain combinations have gone well", Gatland said when quizzed about Warburton.

British & Irish Lions halfback Greig Laidlaw passes the ball during their game against the Chiefs at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton New Zealand Tuesday
Dragons lock Hill named on bench for Lions clash with Chiefs

Kristian Dacey, Tomas Francis, Cory Hill and Gareth Davies were called up by Gatland from the Wales squad which beat Tonga on Friday and Allan Dell and Finn Russell from the Scotland team that beat Australian on Saturday. So he had time against the Highlanders and we were able to give him time last night.

The Chiefs will be a tough prospect for the Lions.

"The will be some discussions and debates to be had about the final make-up of the back-row for Saturday".

Owen Farrell, suffering from a thigh knock, has also been left out. And sometimes it was put through to the TMO who said it didn't have a material affect and told the ref to talk to the players about it.

"Apart from that it's bumps and bruises".

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.

There was little pretty about the Lions' performance - they seldom chanced the ball along their backline after a few desultory attempts in the first half.

"We're going to need some players that may double up".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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