Warren Gatland still considering Lions XV to face New Zealand

Warren Gatland still considering Lions XV to face New Zealand”

Gatland has stuck to his promise to ensure all his 41 players receive a starting berth in the first three matches, but he has also paired some key combinations to face Scott Robinson's potent Crusaders.

However, the Blues got their noses ahead right on the stroke of half-time, New Zealand worldwide Sonny Bill Williams touching down after Stephen Perofeta's penalty had hit the post.

This week's episode of The Hard Yards sees Stephen Ferris, Kev McLaughlin, Kiwi rugby writer Hamish Bidwell, Ladbrokes' Andy Wildig and host Andy McGeady discussing the underwhelming start to the Lions Tour and New Zealand's relationship with prodigal son Warren Gatland.

They will face another step up in class on Saturday when they face the unbeaten Crusaders in Christchurch.

Flanker Sean O'Brien, centre Jonathan Davies and wing George North get their first games on tour here on Saturday.

Despite the glaring dangers, Webb remained adamant the Lions were not about to send out any distress signals just because of one defeat in a 10-match tour.

Wales skipper Jones captained the Lions in the third Test in Australia in 2013 as well as playing in all the Tests in South Africa in 2009. "There were some momentum shifts in the game (and). the most disappointing thing for me was the amount of penalties we gave away, particularly when we were on attack". These guys have been together seven months and the All Blacks are coming together cold.

But that bemused All Blacks coach Hansen, who felt Gatland must have been searching for "a bit of humour" in making the comparison to the world champion.

"I think physically we have been right up there". We picked him because he has got more to his game than that with his offloading ability. Will they be good enough to beat the Crusaders at AMI Stadium in a match described already as the unofficial fourth test?

The Crusaders clash is a chance for the Lions to put what could be their Test back line into practice.

Robertson said: "This is a huge and exciting challenge for us".

The Super Rugby-leading Crusaders on Saturday present arguably the most daunting obstacle outside the three Tests.

Lions team: Hogg, North, Davies; Te'o, Williams, Farrell, Murray; Vunipola, George, Furlong, Jones (capt), Kruis, O'Mahony, O'Brien, Faletau.

The tight five spearheads a squad containing eight All Blacks in the starting side, with Wyatt Crockett named on the bench.

British and Irish Lions captain Ken Owens said" "I think our discipline lost the game.

But by pairing England star Farrell and Ireland scrum-half Murray here - along with slotting Ben Te'o alongside Wales centre Davies - the Crusaders clash is nearly a dry run for some key cogs of a potential Test XV.

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