Sport

Warburton: I am a big doubt for the first Test

Warburton: I am a big doubt for the first Test”

Super League leaders Crusaders were kept tryless in Christchurch last Saturday, when they lost for the first time in 2017 after a 14-game winning streak.

"We've got to be in control of how we want to play the game and be ready for them to hit us at breakneck speed".

That is the style with which they are most comfortable and I'm sure the Lions will not be deviating much from it.

"I've learnt from experience that it takes me at least two games and then the third game I'll probably be playing some good rugby", he said.

SAM WARBURTON has turned to a £3,000 ice machine to help win his Lions fitness battle. The problem, of course, is there are doubts which persist over whether that is the case.

The Lions have emphasized the importance of not losing momentum achieved against the Crusaders or falling away from the form benchmark.

"It has been a really tough week and there has been a lot of criticism", the Lions head coach said.

Warren Gatland leads the Lions in 2017. We've got to remember the first Test is not the be-all and end-all. "That is me being brutally honest. There are times when you need to be pragmatic and take the points in a tight game any way you can", he wrote. Our discipline was better, but the main thing for us was that we got stronger throughout the game.

The Glasgow star collided with Murray as the Ireland scrum-half attempted to move out of Hogg's way - and head coach Warren Gatland admitted the full-back will now be sent to a specialist to determine the extent of the damage to his cheek.

"We're so desperate to have a good tour and we're only a fraction away from being three out of three", Warburton said. It's very threatening, so we've got it all on.

Gatland will hope the progress continues this week because nothing will challenge the team he is building like the All Blacks and the first Test is getting closer and closer. The business end of the tour is fast approaching. "It's a great ground to play in, so I'd imagine the scoreline will be a little bit different to the Crusaders game".

While the Highlanders will be without their All Blacks in scrumhalf Aaron Smith and fullback Ben Smith, injuries earlier in the season had seen the side call on their full squad to cover and those players would step up again against the Lions, said McLeod. "I guess I have to deliver in that area on Tuesday".

Flyhalf Lima Sopoaga, center Malakai Fekitoa and winger Waisake Naholo have been given dispensations by the All Blacks to play in the match as all are likely to be bench players at best in the first test at Auckland on June 24.

Mako Vunipola, Jamie George, Tadhg Furlong, George Kruis, Peter O'Mahony, Toby Faletau, Conor Murray, Owen Farrell, George North.

Apart from one misfired pass which potentially cost Jonathan Davies a try, Farrell's running game was damaging.

LIONS: Payne; Nowell; Joseph, Henshaw; Seymour; Biggar, Webb; Marler, Best, Sinckler; Lawes, Henderson; Haskell, Warburton (capt), Stander.



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