British Lions beat Chiefs 34-6 in last match before 1st test

Lynette Rowe
June 27, 2017

It was an emotional occasion for Gatland but his Lions were magnificent despite knowing that they faced an uphill battle to force their way into the Test team for Saturday's game against the All Blacks. I spoke to both wingers and said there is an opportunity for them, and a few other positions as well.

Image: The New Zealand All Blacks rugby team captain Kieran Read holds a ball during a team training session in Sydney, Australia, August 19, 2016, before their first Bledisloe Cup game against Australia's Wallabies on Saturday.

Jack Nowell was the best player on the ground tonight. He showed that when he scored his tries.

And he fielded a kick and initiated the counter attack that led to the third, scored by New Zealand-born Payne who began his top level career in Hamilton for Waikato province and the Chiefs.

Johnny Sexton had started in his absence during Saturday's win over the Maori, with the Irishman seemingly back to his best after an indifferent season that featured below-par showings for Leinster and to begin this tour.

England wing Jack Nowell answered his critics with two tries in a man-of-the-match display as the Lions' second string built on an encouraging weekend victory over the Maori All Blacks. So far no Lions opponent has been able to get ball wide and expose them there from first phase and the predicted wet weather on Saturday will make that hard again. His heart is on his sleeve and I don't think there's an terrible lot of leaders like him.

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Rowntree said whatever lineup the Lions decide on, which will likely be revealed to players on Wednesday and to the public on Thursday, he is confident of the tourists' ability to cope with the high-tempo style of the All Blacks. He had time out of the game in the second half for an HIA, which he passed, and continued to have a big influence on the game.

10 DAN BIGGAR - Wales' composed playmaker attacked with objective albeit against a weakened home side: 7. He was outstanding for the Lions.

He frequently kept the point of attack shifting and worked well running off the back of scrums and as the link man in phase play. This was hugely impressive and Warren Gatland now has a welcome headache for fly-half options for the rest of the series.

In contrast, Sean O'Brien, who also travelled to New Zealand with no match action since April, has recaptured his form of old, mightily impressing whenever given the chance. The decision provoked outcry from Lions of the past and all six were on the bench for the match in Hamilton.

Poor discipline could have also cost them when Harlequins prop Joe Marler was sin-binned for a late tackle, but his replacement Alan Dell excelled. Daly has a chance of gatecrashing the matchday squad as he was replaced after 60 minutes. Gatland will be pleased that after his concerns over the amount of blocking his team had been subject to, Garces awarded two penalties against the Chiefs for this infringement.

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