Donald to captain Chiefs against Lions
- Author: Julie Sanders Jun 24, 2017,
Jun 24, 2017, 2:48
Elliot played just 10 minutes off the bench, but, interestingly, Messam was picked, despite having played the full 80.
Meads, who faced the Lions in 1959, 1966 and 1971 and is regarded by many in New Zealand as the nation's greatest player, was feted in his hometown Te Kuiti on Monday with the unveiling of a 2.7 metre bronze statue in his likeness.
The Chiefs have included Luteru Laulala and Chase Tiatia for potential debuts.
In fact, I can't think of a move we've produced from a scrum or line-out to ask questions. But Gatland reiterated his huge admiration for the back-row trio of Peter O'Mahony, Sean O'Brien and Taulupe Faletau that helped the Lions "squeeze the life" out of the Maori in Saturday's triumph.
Leigh Halfpenny, who is going through return-to-play protocols after taking a bang to the head against the Maori All Blacks, looks to have secured the fullback spot but Gatland wants Liam Williams, who starts against the Chiefs on Tuesday, to push his claims. "Had it been a Test match he would have played", he said.
"We have other players who are fresh and keen and we've got confidence in so the rest of those guys will miss out".
"Finn is a quality operator, he's gifted, he's a good offloader, he reads the game, he's excitable", Laidlaw said. "I can't describe what it is going to be like on Saturday, but I know it is going to be pretty intense and there will be a lot of pressure".
"I was always confident about Owen Farrell being fit."
But the fact they are in the midweek team, playing just four days before the first Test can not be ignored and Tommy Seymour's place on the bench on Tuesday suggests his chances of featuring against the All Blacks are slim.
I watched New Zealand's attack cut Samoa wide open but Warren Gatland's men don't look on the same level.
Elsewhere, defence coach Andy Farrell believes Sam Warburton is "battle-hardened" and improving day by day as the Lions captain inches towards the Test match squad.
"It's about staying alive and making sure sometimes you'll get bumped but it's about backing your pace".
"It is exciting. There has been a long build-up to this first Test, and we are excited about the challenge".
"He is a little bit more anxious than he normally is, saying these comments about us, things he knows about or doesn't know about".
In at 15: Liam Williams gets a start in his preferred position of full-back.
The Chiefs caught Wales on the hop last season in between tests and they will once again be stripped of their All Blacks and a number of front line players. "It makes it hard to complete attacking opportunities because there is so much happening off the ball in terms of holding players or subtly holding players".