New Zealand v British & Irish Lions

New Zealand v British & Irish Lions

New Zealand v British & Irish Lions

Gatland said off-the-ball obstruction was endemic in New Zealand rugby and his players had been blocked throughout their five warm-up games, costing them valuable attacking opportunities.

Gatland will need every decision to go his was at Eden Park on Saturday.

There's a lot riding on the All Blacks to stop the Lions threat, given the 2005 side did that to great effect as they brushed aside Sir Clive Woodward's touring party.

Hitting New Zealand hard up front along with box-kicking to gain field position will be the key to whatever chance the Lions have of winning in Auckland on Saturday morning. "If you can play to those and protect your jumper as much as you can, as long as you are within the rules, I don't think there is any problem".

While the Lions had 75 per cent of possession in the Maori match, including 90 per cent in the second half, they scored only one try from general play. Any Test match you play, home or away, has always got that pressure.

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The Englishman is shaping up as the Lions' first choice pivot for the Tests, beating out Ireland's Johnny Sexton.

"Owen could have played on Saturday". So he had time against the Highlanders and we were able to give him time last night. Sean O'Brien was huge on the weekend (against the New Zealand Maori), and against the Crusaders. "The frustrating thing for us is the amount of blocking that's going on", said Gatland, who will have a meeting with the South African official on Friday. "All I am asking is the officials are aware of it and look at it and they did that last night [against the Maori] so I was happy with it".

"It's unlike Steve and maybe he is anxious by potentially how good this team can be".

Both Kaino and his All Blacks colleague Brodie Retallick were in relaxed guise as they met the media at New Zealand's team hotel in Auckland on Monday, but Retallick underlined how big a task the world champions face during the next three weekends.

Stand-off Russell led Scotland to a fine 24-19 win in Australia before jumping on a plane to join up with the Lions, and his Scotland team-mate Laidlaw believes he can now boost head coach Gatland's Lions ranks. "(The Lions) brought a real intensity.

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While Andy wouldn't be drawn on who would take the red and white number 10 come Saturday, he expected the 25-year-old to be fit in time for the first test on Saturday. I am sure they will review the games like we will.

"It is definitely special". We've just got to handle that and hope the refs, the assistant referees and the TMOs pick up what's going on.

As the Lions defense coach, Farrell was under no illusions to what needed to be sorted out before the first Test.

"He (Hansen) was still his cheeky self this morning, cracking jokes", Kaino said.

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