Lions test places still up for grabs against Chiefs

Postado Junho 20, 2017

"The frustrating thing for us is the amount of blocking that's going on, the off-ball stuff, it makes it hard to complete attacking opportunities and situations because there is so much happening off the ball in terms of holding players or subtly holding players", said Gatland in Hamilton yesterday.

Substitutes: K Dacey (Wales), A Dell (Scotland), T Francis, C Hill, AW Jones, G Davies (all Wales), F Russell, T Seymour (both Scotland).

If the Lions made a statement on the pitch, Warren Gatland certainly made a statement off it with the announcement that six players were being added to the squad for a ten-day period. "He could have played on Saturday", Gatland said.

Showing the sort of restraint that will serve them well in the heat of battle on Saturday night when they host Gatland's British and Irish Lions at Eden Park in the first of three tests, veteran All Black forward Jerome Kaino steadfastly refused to be drawn into a debate over perceived dodgy tactics.

But Gatland has again reiterated his huge admiration for the back-row unit of Peter O'Mahony, Sean O'Brien and Taulupe Faletau that helped the Lions "squeeze the life" out of the Maori in Saturday's 32-10 triumph.

Ireland skipper Best will captain the Lions for the first time on this tour having led the 2013 tourists against the Brumbies in Australia, also the final tour game before the opening Test.

"A few guys are going to get opportunities on Tuesday night in the game against the Chiefs and after that we'll look at selecting the (Test) side".

Gatland has dismissed mid-week losses to the Auckland and Blues and Otago Highlanders as part of a learning process with winning the Test series the goal starting with the first Test in Auckland next Saturday.

"There's no doubt there's some pressure on certain players and certain combinations have gone well", the head coach said.

George Kruis' game time has matched them nearly identically, and alongside him Maro Itoje partnered his clubmate with a monstrous 80 minutes of unstinting carrying, tackling and clearing out. The team, just like the week before against the Crusaders, looked like the Test team for next week without Owen Farrell, who had picked up an injury. To get this one out of the way, I agree with the likes of Stephen Ferris in saying that a Lions jersey should be earned on merit not because you are in the same country as the Lions squad. Leigh Halfpenny obviously took a knock on the weekend, so he's going through the Head Injury Assessment protocols. We took George Kruis off relatively early because his calf was a bit tight. We could go that way, we could potentially change and do that during the match as well. It is a shame that Liam Williams has had a shocker on this trip, as it would have been great to see him at full back.

You watch the All Blacks and they bust a gut and it's not just one them - it's two or three at a time. "We're giving players a chance here from an attacking perspective".