Lions name team for Crusaders game

"But we think the Lions will get better, I'm sure they will, they are quality players and there's no reason why they shouldn't".

Now's not the time for Warren Gatland to hold his team back, if indeed they are holding back.

British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland hasn't allowed selection plans to be derailed by Wednesday's loss to the Auckland-based Blues, picking a lineup below test strength for Saturday's match with the Crusaders at Christchurch.

The fearsome Maori war dance is traditionally reserved for the world champion All Blacks but New Zealand's five Super Rugby sides all plan to lay haka challenges to the Lions.

There are 11 Irish players in the current British and Irish Lions squad.

Gatland has played two completely different starting XVs in the Test side's two matches against the provincial Barbarians and Blues, and on Saturday will give the rest of his troops a hit-out.

Haskell - a late call-up for the tour - carried for 22 metres from his seven runs, and beat a couple of defenders in an incisive first-half break that saw the Lions advance up the field, while also making nine tackles in a good all-round performance.

Wales skipper Alun Wyn Jones will captain the side.

The first Test against the All Blacks takes place on June 24.

"Northern hemisphere teams, they love a kick, so we will be preparing ourselves to have an aerial battle, and we sent a whatsapp message last night saying that we are going to prepare for those high balls".

"It was a moment of magic that won the game tonight, but we've got to be better at stopping that offloading game".

But the Blues' chaos rugby - as described by the Lions camp this week - kicked in at the ideal time, as offloads from bustling duo Steven Luatua and Sonny Bill Williams handed reserve first-five eighth West the chance to scoot around Halfpenny and score.

"We always knew the tour was going to be tough; we're not looking at it as a daunting task, we're looking at is as an opportunity", McGrath said.

Saracens lock Maro Itoje was unable to prevent the British & Irish Lions from slipping to a first defeat on their tour to New Zealand on Wednesday.

The problem they have is that rather than players putting their hands up and forcing their way into the team, the trend so far is for players to play their way off it.

Te'o will start his second match of the tour on Saturday when he lines up outside Farrell at inside centre against the Crusaders in what looks to be the Lions' most challenging match before they face the All Blacks.

"We have improved from the opening game with the time we have spent together and we will improve again before Saturday". But we're not going to drop our heads.

Vanessa Coleman

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