Lions team named for mid-week Chiefs clash

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    British and Irish Lions boss Warren Gatland has rung the changes for Tuesday’s clash with the Chiefs in Hamilton, resting a host of Test regulars for Saturday’s first All Blacks clash.

    Skippered by Irish rake Rory Best, the Lions are completely changed from the side that suffocated the Maori All Blacks 32-10 in Rotorua on Saturday.

    English tighthead Dan Cole has surprisingly been named in the No.3 shirt, opening the doorway to Tadhg Furlong for a Test berth, with Joe Marler on the opposite side – confirming Mako Vunipola as the Test No.1.

    Courtney Lawes has recovered from a head knock against the Highlanders to start alongside Iain Henderson in the second row, while CJ Stander, Justin Tipuric and James Haskell make up the side’s loose forward trio.

    Tour captain Sam Warburton has been omitted, as have the likes of Maro Itoje, George Kruis, Sean O’Brien, Peter O’Mahony and Taulupe Faletau.

    They are all likely to play major roles on Saturday.

    At the back, Greig Laidlaw and Dan Biggar line up in the halves, with Robbie Henshaw and the Kiwi-born Jared Payne in midfield.

    Elliot Daly, Jack Nowell and Liam Williams make up the back three.

    All six of Gatland’s call-ups from Wales and Scotland this weekend will start on the bench, from which they’ll likely make their Lions debuts.

    Omissions from the backline include Ben Te’o, Jonathan Joseph, George North, Leigh Halfpenny and halves Johnny Sexton and Conor Murray.

    Owen Farrell, suffering from a thigh knock, has also been left out.

    “Those involved on Tuesday will be playing not only for themselves in terms of further selection, but also for the whole squad,” Gatland said.

    “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.

    “It’s going to be another big challenge against the Chiefs.”

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

    © AAP 2017

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