Dragons lock Hill named on bench for Lions clash with Chiefs

Lions outmuscle Maori to register morale-boosting win

Lions outmuscle Maori to register morale-boosting win

JONATHAN DAVIES and Ben Te'o made great breaks against the Maoris but the Lions' support play must improve and be clinical against the All Blacks in the first Test.

Full-back Leigh Halfpenny kicked 20 points as Itoje crossed the line to ensure the Lions chalked up their third win from five tour matches and avoided a similar setback to 12 years ago when the Maori stunned their visitors 19-13.

Conditions for Saturday night's Test are forecast to be dry which Foster acknowledges will suit his side, however should the rain close in, the former Waikato five-eighth says they know what to expect from their opposition.

The Maori proved savvy at killing the ball every time the Lions edged deep into their territory, to stop Gatland's men capping several smart moves with a try.

Yet against the Maori, it was utterly in control, with the Lions from the outset laying down their marker by finally getting the maul in forward gear, winning penalties along its steady march.

The decision has attracted a furious response from coaches, past players and media with England head coach Eddie Jones blasting Gatland for selecting players based on "geographical proximity" rather than merit after his players, who are in Argentina, were overlooked for potential call-ups.

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It urged the public to treat quotes from anonymous sources with scepticism. He can not in a Twitter statement include all of that in there.

The Lions sensed their opponents were rocking badly and pressed home their advantage midway through the second half through Itoje, who capitalised on Taulupe Faletau's strong drive to pick up the pieces and drive his side over the line.

Conor Murray was again outstanding at scrumhalf, kicking dangerously into the box and casually picking up runners to sustain long attacking movements.

The only concern for the Lions was, perhaps, the slightly diffident performance of veteran George North on the left wing.

Gatland said its frustrating the amount of off the ball play in terms of blocking and holding back that is going.

Gatland claimed he was "always confident" Owen Farrell would be fit for the first Test, despite the England fly-half still battling a thigh issue.

Tour captain Sam Warburton, who continues a slow comeback from a knee injury, took the field for the last 15 minutes.

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Martin Guptill (27) too did not have a great time at the crease as he departed in the 14th over, caught by Root off Ben Stokes. England will play New Zealand in Cardiff on 6 June.

So the British & Irish Lions are bringing in four Wales players and probably a few Scots to augment their squad in the lead-up to the first Test.

Halfpenny got the ball rolling with two early penalties but the Lions soon fell behind when Liam Messam pounced on a loose ball to score the first try of the contest after 12 minutes.

Halfpenny converted and took his record from the tee on the evening to seven out of seven as the Lions showed plenty of encouraging signs that they can challenge the world champion. He coached the provincial team, and the Super Rugby side, the Waikato Chiefs, for a number of years.

Further pressure led to Itoje's try in the 53rd.

"We are really disappointed for Ross", said Gatland, adding: "It is disappointing to see injury cut his Tour short but we wish him all the best with his recovery". "We didn't have a lot of momentum in the second half and we paid the price there".

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The WWE have advertised six participants in the first ever Women's Money in the Bank match despite only 5 being announced. Of course, that doesn't appear to be the most recent rumor, but anything and everything is possible at this point.

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