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13th Jun 2017

English rugby fans will surely approve of this Lions team for the weekend

That'll do

Patrick McCarry

We are edging ever closer to the British & Irish Lions opening Test match against the All Blacks.

The tourists will take on the world champions at Eden Park and they will need to be beyond even their very best to have a chance in the Test Series.

After four tour games, it is becoming clear which way Warren Gatland and his coaching staff will go in terms of Test squad selection.

The team Gatland selects to face the Maori All Blacks, in Rotorua on Saturday, will feature many of his Test definites in what would be their final start before the real fun begins.

Furlong will again start at tight-head and O’Mahony looks set for another stint in the No.6 jersey. Maro Itoje may have been a blindside option but Courtney Lawes’ injury and another middling game from Alun Wyn Jones may now see him get a chance beside George Kruis.

Conor Murray was excellent against Crusaders and is the Test Lions scrumhalf in waiting. We expect Gatland to use Saturday’s game as the opportunity to look at Johnny Sexton and Owen Farrell at 10/12, with Ben Te’o having to content himself with a bench role despite having a decent start to the tour.

Mako Vunipola was excellent against Crusaders and hooker Jamie George looks set for another start, while Anthony Watson has done enough to get a proper look on the left wing

The make-up of the team is 6-5-4 in terms of English, Welsh and Irish with another four Welsh players on the bench, along with Jack McGrath, Sean O’Brien and the English duo of Te’o and Dan Cole.


Leigh Halfpenny

George North
Jonathan Davies
Owen Farrell
Anthony Watson

Jonathan Sexton
Conor Murray

Mako Vunipola
Jamie George
Tadhg Furlong

Maro Itoje
George Kruis

Peter O’Mahony
Sam Warburton (capt)
Toby Faletau

Replacements: Ken Owens, Jack McGrath, Dan Cole, Alun Wyn Jones, Sean O’Brien, Rhys Webb, Ben Te’o, Liam Williams.

*The Lions matchday 23 will be announced on Wednesday, June 14