Lions' Nowell hits straps in Chiefs win

Warren Gatland left the door open for those who started against Waikato Chiefs to state their claim to be involved this weekend.

"The selection meeting will be with all the coaches", said Gatland. The duo's England colleague Elliot Daly was also at the forefront of an impressive team performance and received a name check from Gatland afterwards.

Gatland insisted that his entire backroom staff will thrash out the final first Test selection as a group - and that he will not make any unilateral decisions. Two well-taken tries against the Chiefs, however, have given him every chance of participating in the Test series at some point. "If I got anywhere near it, it would be unbelievable", he told United Kingdom newspapers.

"I see a man who's very good with people and getting the right people around him. We're looking forward to Saturday now". The Chiefs may have been weakened by All Blacks call-ups, but they were restricted to just two Stephen Donald penalties, both in the first half.

Peter O'Mahony's ability in the lineout, sheer physicality around the pitch and merciless work at the breakdown - in attack and defence - is a huge asset to Warren Gatland's side.

Justin Tipuric fed Daly who raced down the left, Payne and Robbie Henshaw took the move on in the Chiefs' 22, and a fine pass from Iain Henderson handed Nowell the chance to strike.

"The ball is on the field for a long time - it's a quick game - and we have put the players under a lot of stress". With Wales star George North now not firing on all cylinders, Daly is set to spark some burning of the selectors' midnight oil and possibly claim a Test wing spot. North is one of the best in the world, but at the moment he ticks none of those boxes, and it was telling that Daly was removed from the fray on the hour mark and replaced by Tommy Seymour. We were more clinical, we squeezed them, didn't concede any tries and played some good rugby.

It is all aimed at making sure line-out codes, play calls and other tactics do not fall into the hands of the New Zealand squad before their three-Test series.

"Whatever happens, happens. You've done as much as you can now and whoever gets selected we are going to get behind them".

'Part of being an All Black, part of our legacy, is that we love these big occasions, and playing the best of the northern hemisphere on these tour situations is a great thing to be involved in.

Jack Nowell goes over for his second try at the FMG Stadium.

An anxious wait is now in prospect for the players as Gatland mulls over his options.

Kirwan said: "I think Liam is a great footballer, he's played well although he was unfortunate against the Blues". Tonight that was the Chiefs and moving forwards we'll speak about the All Blacks.

The All Blacks have also become embroiled in a bugging scandal of their own when a listening device was discovered in their hotel in Sydney past year before they played the Wallabies.

  • Julie Sanders