Gatland's Lions won their tour opener, but Twitter was not impressed

Gatland's Lions won their tour opener, but Twitter was not impressed

Gatland's Lions won their tour opener, but Twitter was not impressed

They will be devising ways of countering the Lions' defence, and that will be a really interesting part of the series for me.

Payne's challenge now will be to shake off an injury for which the severity is not yet known, in time to make full impact on the Lions' 10-match tour.

"And the people that want to support us and approach the schedule in the same that the players will are I'm sure the ones who will still be with us at the end". It's still nearly a mystical thing. You become familiar with it.

MJ: The games are what it's all about. "He needs to start finding his combinations or the All Blacks will take his team apart".

"And I'm pleased my players will face it a couple of times".

When the tour concludes next month, this fixture will be a footnote, but right now it is everything for this group of Lions who need momentum if they are to have any chance of succeeding. It's not about the individual.

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"We arrived on Wednesday and we are still recovering from the travel and the guys haven't got into regular sleep patterns".

MJ: It's got to come from everyone all the time, that they are there for the team.

"Those guys would probably have got banned [now]". We're all here for each other, to help each other.

The intensity of the Baabaas' efforts, and the quality of the Lions' bench, meant maintaining their halftime lead was always going to be extremely hard. "I want the players to put us coaches under pressure and make the job hard for us in terms of selection when it comes to the first Test". I thought he was incredible, a very similar personality to Johnny.

Iain Henderson struggled as well, dishing out one cheap penalty in a lacklustre first 40 minutes. The most recent tournament in 2015, won by New Zealand, saw the semi-finals contested by only southern hemisphere countries.

The Loop Duty Free New Zealand General Manager Tom Byrne said: "It's not every day that our team gets to experience the phenomenon that is the British and Irish Lions, but I may be biased as an Irishman [yes, you are Tom -Ed]". And then you can work on the detail because the broader strokes are done. How do they stay ahead of the world in terms of their forward thinking? They also have a great attitude to mistakes in particular.

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In his press conference after the game, Zidane was only willing to praise his players though: As a trainer, the is nothing better. However, the hosts showed why they had taken 13 points from their previous five games as the first half wore on.

"Last week at the end of training I had a chat to the 10s and Jonny [Sexton] said, 'Don't worry about him (Owen Farrell), he's a midfielder, '" said Gatland. "It's the highest level of rugby you could ever watch or play". Can they deliver on their potential?

"I think that's the point of note, the point of difference, for us to carry here".

"It is important the players get that opportunity, because if they go well and the team goes well, they put themselves in the shop window for a Test start". The global footprint of rugby today long survives the British empire that gave birth to it - the Lions toured South Africa just a year after the end of the Second Boer War, and Australia just three years after independence. An Elliot Daly or a Liam Williams or a Stuart Hogg.

The first half ended with the Lions opting for a scrum instead of an easy penalty shot at goal in front of the posts, but their drive for a try evaporated when outside centre Jonathan Joseph was held up over the line. Gatland is not going to fool anyone in New Zealand by keeping them hidden until the test match. But it's exciting isn't it?

The British & Irish Lions tour of New Zealand starts on June 3, exclusively on Sky Sports.

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Williamson showed touch play could be effective too when he swept off-spinner Travis Head for a four between two legside fielders. For New Zealand's captain, Kane Williamson, who top-scored on the day with a well-paced 100, the game was not completely wasted.

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