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20 June 2017 8:35 AM UK & Ireland, 7:35 PM NZ FMG Stadium Waikato, Hamilton

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About the match

Waikato's most-celebrated moment against the Lions came back in 1993 when, with a young Warren Gatland at hooker, they won 38-10.

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FMG Stadium Waikato, Hamilton

Enthusiastic rugby fans, the Hamilton locals are known to loudly rattle their Mooloo cowbells during matches

“These tough games will give us nice preparation in terms of getting ready for the Test series.”

Warren Gatland Head Coach

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08:35 AM UK & Ireland, 07:35 PM NZ

Preview: Chiefs v The British and Irish Lions

Inpho

The British & Irish Lions Tour to New Zealand is past the halfway stage now with the Test series against the All Blacks hoving into view – but first there is the sizeable challenge of the Chiefs to overcome.

The Lions have arrived in Hamilton with a spring in their step following Saturday’s record win over the Maori All Blacks in Rotorua.

That momentum must be carried through to Saturday’s first Test at Eden Park and Warren Gatland’s side are feeling confident.

TEAM NEWS

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Rory Best will captain the side on Tuesday at FMG Stadium Waikato, capping a memorable few days for the hooker who also received an OBE on the weekend.

The Ulster man has led the Lions once before, on the 2013 Tour to Australia, and will be looking to avenge the defeat to the Brumbies four years ago.

He is joined in the front row by England props Joe Marler and Dan Cole while the second row sees Iain Henderson and Courtney Lawes reunited from the Highlanders game.

The back row is James Haskell, Justin Tipuric and CJ Stander while the half-back pairing is Greig Laidlaw and Dan Biggar.

Robbie Henshaw and Jared Payne are re-united in midfield while the back three is Liam Williams at full back with England wingers Elliot Daly and Jack Nowell either side of him.

On the bench Alun Wyn Jones brings experience while Tommy Seymour is the back three cover and all six new call-ups are also picked – the front row of Allan Dell, Kristian Dacey and Tomas Francis, lock Cory Hill, and half backs Gareth Davies and Finn Russell.

WHAT THEY’VE BEEN SAYING

Head Coach Warren Gatland on the battle for Test places:

“We won’t sit down as a coaching team to pick the Test team until Wednesday and I think that’s only fair to the players taking the field on Tuesday night.”

CJ Stander on the privilege of pulling the red jersey:

“This is the chance of a lifetime and anyone out of this group would put his hand up to play all ten games if you asked him to! It is just an honour to pull on this jersey.”

All Black Liam Messam, who started at No 8 for the Maori on Saturday and is on the bench for the Chiefs on Tuesday:

“The body is a little sore as you’d expect but I’m looking forward to getting another opportunity to play against these guys.”

“I know out here on my home pitch the home fans will get me up and I’ll be good to go. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play these guys and I’m lucky enough to get two cracks at them. ”

OPPONENTS 

The Chiefs might be missing a number of players on international duty but it would be foolish to write them off.

World Cup winner Stephen Donald will pull the strings at fly half – and the veteran did the same thing when they downed Wales last summer.

Keep an eye out for Tim Nanai-Williams – who started for Samoa last Friday – with the exciting Johnny Fa’auli in midfield.

Shaun Stevenson will take some stopping at full back while there are some familiar faces to the Lions also included.


Liam Messam and Hika Elliot are both on the bench after their efforts for the Maori on Saturday while Aidan Ross, Lachlan Boshier and Luteru Laulala all faced the Lions for the NZ Provincial Barbarians.

HEAD TO HEAD: Tim Nanai-Williams v Jared Payne

Tim Nanai-Williams possesses one of the best sidesteps in world rugby, just ask his cousin Sonny Bill who was left on his backside in the first half on Friday night in Eden Park during Samoa’s clash with the All Blacks.

It may be a short turnaround for the Samoan wizard who will wear No 13 on Tuesday night in Hamilton, but the Lions will need to keep an eye on him.

Leading that defensive line will be Jared Payne – playing against his former club – who starts again at outside centre for the Lions.

The Kiwi-born star is paired with his Ireland teammate Robbie Henshaw in midfield after starting against the Highlanders at full back.

And Payne will be desperate to put down a marker on Tour before the Lions head back to Auckland to prepare for the first Test.

KEY STAT

In this corresponding game four years ago against the Brumbies, seven players who featured were also in the matchday 23 for the first Test – so there is hope yet for those selected.

Rory Best captains the Lions for the second time in his career – and becomes the fifth match captain of the Tour after Sam Warburton, Ken Owens, Alun Wyn Jones and Peter O’Mahony.

WHERE IS IT BEING PLAYED?

Located in Hamilton, FMG Stadium Waikato is home to Super Rugby franchise Chiefs and ITM Cup side Waikato.

And the famous Mooloo cowbells will be ringing when The British & Irish Lions take on the Chiefs there on 20 June as part of their 2017 series.

Enthusiastic rugby fans, the Hamilton locals are known to loudly rattle their cowbells during matches both home and away to add to the atmosphere inside the ground.

In 2000, the stadium underwent reconstruction and reopened officially in 2002 when it hosted a Super 12 match between the Chiefs and Crusaders.

The last time The British & Irish Lions toured New Zealand in 2005, the stadium hosted the tourists’ only midweek defeat, as they went down 19-13 to a Maori All Blacks side inspired by Carlos Spencer.

And in 2011, the ground hosted three Rugby World Cup pool matches including two Wales victories over Samoa and Fiji.

REFEREE

Jérôme Garcès takes charge of his first game on Tour this weekend as the Lions face the Chiefs.

The Frenchman will also be the man with the whistle in the second Test against the All Blacks in Wellington.

His linesmen on Tuesday are Romain Poite and Jaco Peyper – the other two Test referees – with Ian Smith the TMO.

WHERE TO WATCH?

Every game of the Tour will be shown on Sky Sports 1 at 8:35AM BST (7:35PM local time) in New Zealand and live on Radio on Talk Sport.

HOW TO GET INVOLVED

Follow all the Lions official accounts on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram using #AllForOne #CHIvBIL and #LionsNZ2017






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Lions score four tries to claim victory over Chiefs

Jack Nowell crossed for two tries in the victory over the Chiefs

Jack Nowell crossed for a double as The British & Irish Lions warmed up for the Test series against the All Blacks in fine style with an impressive victory over the Chiefs in Hamilton.

Nowell dived over from close range in the first half while Dan Biggar booted the rest of the points as the Lions led 13-6 at the break.

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But in the second half Warren Gatland’s side turned on the style, the forwards earning a penalty try before Nowell and Jared Payne both went over after fine attacking moves with Mitchell Brown in the sin bin for the  hosts.

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The Chiefs – Super Rugby champions in 2012 and 2013 – were held tryless to end their seven-match winning streak on their home ground and ensure the Lions head to Auckland to take on the All Blacks with a spring in their step.

The tourists had lost on their two previous visits to Waikato but they hit the ground running this time around, the impressive Elliot Daly putting in a huge hit from Biggar’s kick off to signal his intent.

Courtney Lawes was enormous in the opening period and his lineout steal relieved some early Chiefs pressure and the Lions went up the other end and made their first inroads.

Nowell broke a tackle down the right and offloaded to James Haskell and when Brown went offside Biggar slotted the first penalty of the night.

Joe Marler then saw yellow for the Lions for a late tackle – bringing on Allan Dell for his Lions debut – but despite the numerical disadvantage it was the tourists who struck next, Daly and Greig Laidlaw working the short side to earn another penalty that Biggar slotted.

The Lions defence was causing the Chiefs all sort of problems in the first half – Iain Henderson tackling everything in sight – but World Cup winner Stephen Donald replied with a penalty for the hosts when Lawes was penalised for hands in the ruck.

However, when Marler returned from the bin, the Lions did not take long to claim the first try of the match.

Nowell and Liam Williams got free down the right and after CJ Stander and Biggar had gone close, it was Nowell who dived over the breakdown from short range to dot down his first try of the Tour.

Biggar’s simple extras made it 13-3 and it could have been more before the break when a rolling maul came close to the line.

But the Chiefs held out and with the last play of the half Donald trimmed the lead to 13-6 with a penalty from bang in front when Daly went offside.

The driving maul, as it had on Saturday against the Maori, continued to do damage after the interval but a couple of misfiring lineouts from Rory Best halted the Lions progress.

The Chiefs then enjoyed their best period of sustained territory but when Finlay Christie knocked on, Laidlaw dummied and broke clear to relieve the pressure.

Alun Wyn Jones was then introduced temporarily for Lawes and the Lions maul got back to work and this time the Chiefs sacked it illegally, forcing referee Jerome Garces to award a penalty try and the Lions were 20-6 to the good.

Brown was sent to the sin bin for the Chiefs but Best and Stander then both conceded penalties in quick succession at the breakdown to put the Lions on the back foot.

However, the tourists then turned defence into attack in sublime style for the try of the night.

The Chiefs overthrew the five-metre lineout and Justin Tipuric was the first man on the spot to steal the ball and spread it left, and from there the Lions went into overdrive. Biggar saw it was on to run it and Daly seared clear down the left before offloading to Payne who in turn found Henshaw – and when the ball found its way back to Nowell, the winger cut back on the right to go over for an end-to-end effort.

Biggar’s extras came before the hour mark for a 27-6 lead and the Lions were now in total command. The fourth try of the night followed soon after, Williams breaking from deep before offloading to Payne to burst clear.

The final quarter of an hour saw replacement Tommy Seymour go close for the Lions but the game was over as a contest and, despite the Chiefs’ best efforts, the Lions defence was impenetrable and a late Dan Cole turnover sealed a 34-6 victory.






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