Test spot still possible for back-up Lions

"So ultimately it's to look after the Test squad, which is so important now at this stage of the series".

Not surprisingly Warren Gatland has copped a fair bit of stick from his fellow countrymen and some friendly fire as well given the controversial additions to the squad from the Wales & Scotland tours.

15-Shaun Stevenson, 14-Toni Pulu, 13-Tim Nanai-Williams, 12-Johnny Faauli, 11-Solomon Alaimalo, 10-Stephen Donald (captain), 9-Finlay Christie, 8-Tom Sanders, 7-Lachlan Boshier, 6-Mitchell Brown, 5-Michael Allardice, 4-Dominic Bird, 3-Nepo Laulala, 2-Liam Polwart, 1-Siegfried Fisi'ihoi. He will be gutted for someone like Joe Launchbury.

However I digress and Gatland would have been very happy with the team's performance against a fancied Maoris team in this unofficial 4 test.

However, it will be hard to gauge if they can put in a repeat showing against the Chiefs.

17 June 2017; Peter O'Mahony of the British & Irish Lions during the match between the Maori All Blacks and the British & Irish Lions at Rotorua International Stadium in Rotorua, New Zealand. What will be an ongoing concern is the amount of chances the Lions are butchering.

Since the touring squad was announced, the New Zealand coach has been chipping away at every opportunity - questioning the style of play, the squad harmony and even stealing a march by leaking information before the Lions were ready.

The last time the Lions toured New Zealand, under Sir Clive Woodward in 2005, the tourists were brushed aside to great effect.

Scoring tries can be worked on in training but it has to be instinctive too.

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Batsman Hashim Amla will feature as the marquee player of this team. The new Global League is expected to solve both issues.

It sits uneasy with me and even listening to Sir Ian McGeechan on TV over the weekend, you could see that he was disappointed.

It's time for the Lions midweek team to deliver.

The match was thought likely to be the Lions' toughest before the first test and their nearly full-strength lineup rose to the occasion, shutting the Maori out.

Halfpenny put the Lions ahead again but the Maori reclaimed the lead with a Damian McKenzie penalty.

Rory Best will captain the British and Irish Lions against the Chiefs, with Sam Warburton's omission a boost in the Wales flanker's bid for first Test selection.

"From memory what the Lions tests were about in 2005, it was incredible". "I was never not confident". Ben Te'o's done really well and has caused opposition teams problems, Jonathan Joseph against the Higlanders looked unsafe as well. Te'o has been the best back on tour and his likely battle with Sonny Bill Williams is worth the admission fee alone. "It's an opportunity for Liam to go and impress there".

"I looked back at 2013 (in Australia) and between the first and third tests we made nine different selections". So he had time against the Highlanders and we were able to give him time last night.

Maybe you had to be there to fully appreciate the tingling sense of occasion and the way the Lions subdued both a fired up Maori team and the majority in the 28,000 sell-out crowd.

So, who will win?

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