Sevu Reece to start for the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians
- Author: Zachary Reyes Jun 02, 2017,
Jun 02, 2017, 10:51
Lions starting XV: Stuart Hogg; Anthony Watson, Jonathan Joseph, Ben Te'o, Tommy Seymour; Johnny Sexton, Greig Laidlaw; Joe Marler, Rory Best, Kyle Sinckler, Alun Wyn Jones, Iain Henderson, Ross Moriarty, Sam Warburton (capt), Taulupe Faletau.
Warburton beat the clock and was able to train with the squad in their pre-tour camps before the side left for New Zealand but he still felt that he would need to run himself back into match fitness over the next couple of weeks.
Much of the media scrutiny has already sought to focus on the apparent showdown between Johnny Sexton and Owen Farrell for the test number 10 jersey, with Gatland seemingly not inclined to playing them both in a 10-12 combination.
British & Irish Lions captain Sam Warburton says his team will not be preoccupied by style during their time in New Zealand.
Warburton and Co were treated to a traditional Maori welcome at the airport as well as a heroes' ovation from the travelling Red Army.
"This Lions forward pack will have to front up - and not just front up in scrummages and mauls and the lineout, they've got to out-energise them and out-work them".
"Everyone is saying this is the tour from hell and a suicidal fixture schedule but I don't agree", he said. I think New Zealand has woken up, as I have.
The arrivals store has been decked out with goal posts, supporters" kits and "all things rugby" so that worldwide visitors arriving in New Zealand over the next six weeks will feel engaged with the of "Kick off your tour here'.
The Kiwi public clearly expect the All Blacks to win this series with similar ease, but Gatland is hoping the Lions can catch them and their heroes cold.
"To get off to a good start I want the players to put us coaches under pressure and make the job hard for us in terms of selection and who we are going to pick when it comes to the first Test".
Midweek matches on previous Lions tours have been littered with overzealous stars sometimes overstepping the boundaries of acceptable physicality in bidding to make a name for themselves.
Anderson-Heather admitted that he had not had time to look at the Lions squad to analyse their strengths and weaknesses, as he had been concentrating on getting to know his own team mates.
"The advantage of the team we have selected is that the players were together in the first week in Wales", Gatland said on Thursday.
"I can't wait to see them out on the field, it'll probably give us more of an indication of how they'll play and what they'll bring".
"The more times you face up to it, you don't mind it, it's a motivational thing, it's not intimidating", he told reporters.
Fans throng to it - the team is expected to attract upwards of 20,000 to join them on the 24-hour trip (with a four-figure price tag) to New Zealand.