Health Care

Warburton back at Lions helm

Warburton back at Lions helm”

Interim Highlanders head coach Scott McLeod, whose team face the Lions in Dunedin on Tuesday, admits interpretation is at the heart of the matter. "But getting a grip of discipline was key and I thought the main thing for us was we got stronger throughout the game".

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

"I definitely need more games".

"I know there's some discussion about engagement, the ruling says you must have a small gap and in Super Rugby they pre-load", said Gatland.

"It feels it's audition time for the Test series". That applies, from Farrell's perspective, to the midweek team every bit as much as the Test side. The problem, of course, is there are doubts which persist over whether that is the case. Super Rugby is played in the summer.

"It wasn't that the Crusaders played poorly, it was that the Lions forced those mistakes".

Warburton is far from indispensable, but he is also the apple of Gatland's eye and the head coach will be desperate for him to be available.

As leaders go, you will not find another captain within the Lions squad who has led a side to a five-try victory over the double-defending world champions.

The Lions have won two and lost one of the first three Tour matches, beating the Provincial Barbarians and Crusaders either side of a 22-16 defeat at the hands of the Blues.

"We got in behind (the Crusaders), we made 13 line breaks, I didn't see any negative rugby", Gatland said. "That is me being brutally honest".

"That's what certain individuals are doing and that's what I'm going to try to do, with the opportunity to play in this game".

Ireland's Jared Payne, a former Crusaders centre, will start at fullback having overcome a thigh injury and flyhalf Dan Biggar has been declared fit after concussion.

Several half-chances were squandered on Saturday, leaving the Lions with just two tries to their name in 240 minutes in New Zealand.

"But more importantly, which hasn't been a factor in the last three games, is turnovers. But, as we saw and as we know, there is more than one way to play". I would want to get out there and build on it.

Ireland's O'Brien is the man likely to come in for him again in the opening Test in Auckland if Warburton misses out. The business end of the tour is fast approaching. It cost us that night. I have to deliver in that area on Tuesday.

Only All Blacks Lima Sopoaga and Waisake Naholo, and injury cover Liam Coltman, have been released to face the Lions.

The Lions have sent Stuart Hogg to be assessed by a specialist after he suffered a nasty cheekbone injury by clashing with Murray in Christchurch.

"I think he's got some bonuses out of it that he probably didn't expect with Jonathan Davies coming on and seeing [Owen] Farrell and [Johnny] Sexton work together".

Courtney Lawes will partner Iain Henderson in the second row, with Joe Marler, Rory Best and Kyle Sinckler forming the front row for the second time on this tour.



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