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Best to lead new-look Lions, controversial additions among replacements

18 iunie 2017 09:09

Ireland hooker Rory Best will captain a new-look British and Irish Lions side against the Chiefs on Tuesday, while all six of Warren Gatland's controversial call-ups are named among the replacements.

Scotland's Finn Russell and Allan Dell were drafted in from their tour of Australia, while Wales quartet Gareth Davies, Tomas Francis, Cory Hill and Kristian Dacey were summoned from Auckland.

Gatland's decision to call on those six players raised eyebrows with England coach Eddie Jones critical of Gatland for choosing players based on geography rather than on "merit".

Best captains a side that unsurprisingly notes 15 changes from Saturday's impressive 32-10 victory over the Maori All Blacks, with the bulk of the squad preparing for the Test-series opener against New Zealand on Saturday.

Only Elliot Daly, Dan Biggar, Greig Laidlaw and Iain Henderson are backing up from the win against the Maori All Blacks.

"We are five games into the tour and there is still a lot to play for," Lions head coach Warren Gatland said.

"Those involved on Tuesday will be playing not only for themselves in terms of further selection but also for the whole squad.

"We are here to win a Test series and we have brought cover for the replacements bench so we can limit the number of players who need to double up, which is tough to do at this level of rugby.

"We know it is going to be another big challenge against the Chiefs who have won the Super Rugby title twice in the last five years."

With several first-choice players in the All Blacks squad, the Chiefs are understrength for the clash in Hamilton.

British and Irish Lions: Liam Williams, Jack Nowell, Jared Payne, Robbie Henshaw, Elliot Daly, Dan Biggar, Greig Laidlaw; Joe Marler, Rory Best, Dan Cole, Iain Henderson, Courtney Lawes, James Haskell, Justin Tipuric, CJ Stander.
Replacements: Kristian Dacey, Allan Dell, Tomas Francis, Cory Hill, Alun Wyn Jones, Gareth Davies, Finn Russell, Tommy Seymour.

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