Steve Hansen rejects Warren Gatland claim as New Zealand squad is revealed

"The Blues not only re-wrote their own history, they have left the Lions teetering on the brink of collapse just two games into the tour".

It was a classic piece of Blues quick-ball that led to the Super Rugby outfit's victor over an unadventurous Lions at Eden Park, as successive offloads from No.8 Steven Luatua and midfielder Sonny Bill Williams found their way to Ihaia West to zip over.

Lawes was one of the players to emerge with plaudits though thanks to a series of bone-crunching tackles and his partnership with England colleague Maro Itoje in the second row.

Blues skipper James Parsons has lauded his side for sticking to their traditional running-rugby style in Wednesday's shock 22-16 win over the British and Irish Lions.

Head coach Gatland insists he is yet to even think about his line-up for the three-Test New Zealand series, despite fielding a potent XV to face runaway Super Rugby leaders the Crusaders on Saturday.

The Lions face a rugged lead-up to the first test against the All Blacks with matches against the unbeaten Crusaders, Super Rugby champions the Hurricanes and the New Zealand Maori.

For the lions, number eight CJ Stander scored a try with fullback Leigh Halfpenny slotting the conversion and three penalties for the Lions.

"As always, we'll look forward to growing our game, as we know that if we don't keep improving, others will go past us".

"Hugely disappointed, we came here to build on Saturday's performance, we got a good victory up in Whangarei, and we came here to get another win but unfortunately we've got a defeat", he said.

But the Lions worked their way tirelessly back into the game, drawing two penalties which Halfpenny kicked to edge the Lions into a slender 16-15 lead.

"Obviously (they're) global quality players, they're going to bring that intensity - that's what we were expecting and I think we adjusted well".

The British and Irish Lions leave the field after losing to the Blues.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen watched from the stands and saw two-time World Cup victor Williams score a try and emphatically lay claim for a return to the All Blacks squad.

They struggled again in a game played at pace and were unable to dictate the pace of the game through their control of possession.

The visitors tried to put the Blues under pressure early, coming off their defensive line with a great deal of urgency but the Blues quickly found an overlap 20m out that resulted in five points to winger Reiko Ioane.

Williams likely sealed his test place with his performance. He returned to the Blues lineup for this match after a lengthy break with a knee injury and was unaffected by his fast during Ramadan.

The Blues first try was scored by Rieko Iowane who received a wide attractive pass from Sonny Bill Williams while Williams dived through a spilled ball from Stephen Perofeta's penalty which hit the goalpost to score the second try.

Perofeta converted and suddenly the Blues were 12-10 ahead.

But Williams' try on halftime swung the match.

  • Julie Sanders