Lions look to continue momentum against Chiefs

CloseDan BiggarWALJohnny SextonIREOwen FarrellENG

Moriarty's departure was announced shortly after Gatland called up Wales's Cory Hill, Kristian Dacey, Gareth Davies and Tomas Francis, and indicated more reinforcements would follow.

Gatland has made a full 15 changes to the side that squashed the Maori All Blacks 32-10 in Rotorua on Saturday, as he completes the process of splitting his squad into two separate groups of Test and non-Test personnel.

They'll be joined by Scottish duo Finn Russell and Allan Dell - who've been on tour with their national team in Australia - ahead of the Lions' next match, against Waikato Chiefs on Tuesday.

"If you look back, the very first kick-off in Chicago with Ireland against the All Blacks, the All Blacks were penalised for interference and blocking", added Gatland, referring to Ireland's shock win over the world champions past year.

The Lions' first clash with the All Blacks is just six days away and after all the nervous build-up, it looks like we will have a competitive series on our hands.

New Zealand commentators have condemned the Lions as boring and have criticized the one-dimensional nature of their game plan.

They supplement a Lions squad depleted by the loss of Stuart Hogg (facial injury) and Ross Moriarty (back injury), with Owen Farrell a doubt for Saturday's first Test after suffering a quadriceps injury in training. The controversy of the six new call-ups will continue as they come off the bench against the Chiefs, of course, but Gatland has already moved on.

In reality it would be very harsh to drop any members of the pack which gave such a commanding display against Maori.

He said: "I think we're three deep where we need to be, especially in the front row and at scrum-half".

"My only comment would be I would like to see it picked on merit rather than geographical proximity".

"We won't sit down and pick the (test) team until Wednesday and I think that's only fair on the players that are taking the field on Tuesday", Gatland told reporters in Hamilton.

A penalty try and further score from Maro Itoje led the tourists to their most impressive win of their tour of New Zealand so far.

The Lions held a 12-10 lead at the break courtesy of four Halfpenny penalties as they deprived the Maori of fast ball.

We're in pretty good shape at the moment. They will be with us for a week and are there for bench cover.

Predicting the Lions' Test 23 naturally got a whole lot easier with the naming of the side to face the Chiefs, although there are still a few starting positions to be decided.

Gatland has been widely criticised for his decision but he said: "This is something we planned right from the start and we informed the (home nations) coaches what we were looking to do; it was just about personnel".

The midweek games are supposed to be connected to the overall goal of winning the test series - not isolated contests for the visitors to endure simply to fulfil the obligations demanded by their hosts.

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