Blues to lay down haka challenge for Lions

Blues to lay down haka challenge for Lions

Blues to lay down haka challenge for Lions

A late try and conversion from Ihaia West secured a memorable win for Auckland Blues as the British and Irish Lions suffered a loss in the second match of their New Zealand Tour series. It's going to be a big test for us.

The Super Rugby-leading Crusaders on Saturday present arguably the most daunting obstacle outside the three Tests.

Gatland's comments were met with derision in many quarters.

Flanker Sean O'Brien, centre Jonathan Davies and wing George North get their first games on tour here on Saturday.

Like last week, the Test selection managed just a single try in 80 minutes - via CJ Stander from a driving maul - and then pushed their noses in front through the unerring boot of Welsh fullback Leigh Halfpenny with 10 minutes remaining.

It was apparent at Eden Park, he said, that Warren Gatland's team had a default setting when the game was in the balance.

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Nine of the starting 15 were part of the Lions 2013 Tour of Australia, with Alun Wyn Jones set to captain the experienced side.

"We have improved from the opening game with the time we have spent together and we will improve again before Saturday".

"It was a close game and probably what hurt us was the number of penalties we gave away".

The seven-time Super Rugby champions have played an attractive brand this season on the way to winning 14-from-14 games.

"I think it was a big step up from our first game on tour and I hope we can take another step up on Saturday", he said.

Hansen believes the Lions have plenty of improvement in them with another four matches before the series opener. While the Lions had a footing in the match through their scrum, they made few attempts to play attacking rugby and were vulnerable to the counter-attacking style of the Blues.

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"We can't afford to do that against the All Blacks because they'll punish us".

"This is a huge and exciting challenge for us", he said.

"They're a quality outfit and we know they can pull something out of nothing".

Jones will get an early taste of an All Blacks pack, with the opposition boasting an All Blacks tight five, including outstanding lock Sam Whitelock and Luke Romano. Replacements: Ben Funnell, Wyatt Crockett, Michael Ala'alatoa, Quinten Strange, Jed Brown, Mitchell Drummond, Mitchell Hunt, Tim Bateman.

Replacements: Rory Best (for Owens, 68 mins) 5, Joe Marler (for McGrath, 53 mins) 7, Kyle Sinckler (for Cole, 54 mins) 6, Iain Henderson (for Lawes, 75 mins) 6, Peter O'Mahony (for Haskell, 53 mins) 6, Greig Laidlaw (for Webb, 74 mins) 6, Johnny Sexton (for Biggar, 35 mins) 5, Liam Williams (for Payne, 47 mins) 3.

Six of the eight All Blacks starting for the Crusaders are in the forward pack.

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