Lions battle in NZ tour opener

The Lions captain insisted he has already acclimatised to the time zone and is ready for tomorrow's tour opener against the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians in Whangarei. Warburton beat the clock and was able to train with the squad in their pre-tour camps before the side left for New Zealand but he still felt that he would need to run himself back into match fitness over the next couple of weeks.

"To get off to a good start I want the players to put us coaches under pressure and make the job hard for us in terms of selection and who we are going to pick when it comes to the first Test".

Ireland fly-half Sexton trudged off after just 48 minutes of the Lions' opening tour clash in New Zealand, removed in part due to a potential leg injury - but also after a miserable performance.

"Because we know we don't have a lot of time to prepare for each game, we've got a lot of footage from these teams that we're playing", he said.

"So if and when I'm given an opportunity that's what I'll be aiming to do and give my best towards a team performance".

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His preparations have taken an early blow with the loss of England's powerful No 8 Billy Vunipola but Fitzpatrick, who captained New Zealand to world cup glory in 1987, still feels there is enough quality in the tourists' party to trouble the All Blacks. "They've got a chance to prove themselves and with a little bit of luck they're in contention for the tests".

"Positive play, the gelling of individuals is a massive one and there will be things to work on when we come out of it", Jones said when asked what he hopes the Lions will get out of Saturday's match. England playmaker Farrell stepped off the bench and immediately conjured the move that salvaged victory for the underwhelming Lions.

"It's important we get the tour off to a good start", Gatland told British media. That is my ambition. So it's nice that I can go in knowing what's happening this time.

11 players, from the original 41 picked for this tour, were ruled out of the first game as they were appearing for their respective clubs last weekend.

Sport content prodco Stamp Productions has been commissioned to produce a feature-length documentary of the 2017 British & Irish Lions Tour to New Zealand this summer. "He needs to go out there and hopefully perform well".

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Sexton's tough night lasted 48 minutes as he was replaced by Owen Farrell, with the rest of the Saracens cavalry plus Tadgh Furlong arriving off the bench to try and turn things around.

Saturday will offer a "true test" of how this group have bonded and while they can run drills efficiently and precisely in training, there is no substitute for the intensity or physicality of a game.

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

"Johnny has been great. You are always a bit nervous of I'm really pleased to be involved in the first one".

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