Lions send message to All Blacks

Warren Gatland offers Sam Warburton no guarantee over Lions place for first Test

Warren Gatland offers Sam Warburton no guarantee over Lions place for first Test

All Black flanker, Jerome Kaino, has hit back at Warren Gatland's assertion that New Zealand teams are using illegal tactics when it comes to blocking opponents at re-starts and in open play.

Gatland's inquisitor opined: "You seem to have a lot of knowledge about this engagement", to which Gatland replied, with a nod to Hansen's revelations last week regarding impending Lions' reinforcements: "I do have my sources of information as well, so".

Brodie Retallick says the All Blacks will be ready for what's coming in the opening test against the Lions.

"Ultimately it's about looking after the Test squad".

"We have a big squad".

Gatland justified the decision for geographic reasons and said he needed players who could hit the ground running.

England boss Eddie Jones, whose side on Saturday wrapped up a 2-0 series win in Argentina, said Lions call-ups should be decided on "merit rather than geography".

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Gatland, however, reiterated the message that he has adopted throughout the tour.

"Scrum and lineout were good today on both sides of the ball", O'Mahony said.

It won't make much difference to the other players who are now in the squad because these guys have been brought in as cover. That set the tone in terms of the community engagement and there's been a real feel-good factor around town all day, with the haka record this morning and on throughout the game.

New Zealand-born Gatland tried to deflect attention from his selections by suggesting All Blacks coach Steve Hansen might be anxious at the Lions' recent form.

He also defended calling in six extra players from the Wales and Scotland squads, who are already in the southern hemisphere, so he could have two squads of 23 and Test players would not be required for midweek duty.

Meanwhile, England coach Eddie Jones hailed his Test veterans and global rookies Sunday after a 2-0 Test series triumph in Argentina achieved without many unavailable stars.

"There's no doubt that there's some pressure on certain players and certain combinations have gone well", he told reporters. "The [Welsh] players that came in from Auckland last night and from Australia will be able to fit quickly into that time zone".

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"There will be some tough debates and discussions to have on the final make-up of what the back-row is going to be for Saturday".

Halfpenny's flawless seven from seven shots at goal on Saturday indicates the Lions will hand the Welshman the tee against the All Blacks, even if Farrell shakes off his thigh problem.

Robbie Henshaw and Jared Payne slot into the midfield, suggesting two of Ben Te'o, Jonathan Joseph and Jonathan Davies will start on Saturday.

"It's important we put everything out there against the Chiefs to make sure the boys go into the Test match with another win and real positivity".

"The Tullow Tank" was at his confrontational best in the Lions' clash with the Maori All Blacks.

"Like I said, it's all about us doing that for the best opportunity for the first Test. Apart from that it's just bumps and bruises with some guys a little bit sore".

The Welsh winger George North is not yet assured of a starting place, however, with Gatland making clear the back three remains an area of selectorial concern. We're still developing as a team and finding an identity.

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