- Chiefs 6-34 British and Irish Lions: Jack Nowell scores two tries in dominant display by Warren Gatland’s men ahead of first Test with All Blacks
- The Lions took on the Chiefs in Hamilton in their final warm-up outing ahead of the first Test with All Blacks
- Dan Biggar registered two early penalties for the Lions before Jack Nowell went over for game’s first try
- Warren Gatland’s travelling side were then awarded a penalty try 15 minutes into second half to extend lead
- Nowell, the England wing, went over for his second try of the match before Jared Payne added Lions’ fourth
The Lions’ midweek team sent the whole tour party back up to Auckland in high spirits ahead of Saturday’s first Test, with an emphatic victory which featured a belated outbreak of flair and clinical finishing.
Many of the players on duty had been involved in successive defeats – at the hands of the Blues and Highlanders – so this was a welcome result to prevent another setback which would have dented collective morale at the worst possible time.
There were four tries by Warren Gatland’s side at FMG Stadium, with two of them scored by England wing Jack Nowell.
The Exeter player constantly threatened the home defence and took his chances well. On the opposite flank, Elliot Daly was another stand-out performer, which in theory should give the Lions coaches cause to debate their Test back-three hierarchy in tomorrow’s final selection meeting before the series opener against the All Blacks.
Liam Williams also made his mark from full-back, especially with one blistering, slaloming run to set up a try in the second half.
All three men did enough to at least have their cases considered, but the suspicion is that decisions have already been made.
The widespread belief is that Leigh Halfpenny, Anthony Watson and George North will fill the back three places at Eden Park on Saturday, despite the fact that the latter has been a long way off the heights he reached in Australia four years ago. North is likely to be picked on reputation and trusted to deliver when it counts.
So all that was really left for the midweek players to do was give the Lions party an extra spring in their step four days before the first clash with the world champions.
CHIEFS – 06
Penalties:Stephen Donald (22′,42′)
BRITISH & IRISH LIONS – 34
Tries: Jared Payne (64′),Jack Nowell(25′,59′)
Penalties: Dan Biggar (10′, 18′)
Cons: Dan Biggar (26′,60′,65′)
CHIEFS: Stevenson 6, Pulu 6, Nanai-Williams 5, Fa’auli 5, Alaimalo 5, Donald 5, Christie 7, Fisiihoi 6, Polwart 5, N. Laulala 5, Bird 4, Allardice 4, Brown 5, Boshier 5, Sanders 5
Replacements: Elliot, Ross, Moli, Messam, Karpik, Taumateine, L. Laulala, Tiatia
LIONS: Williams 8, Nowell 9, Payne 7, Henshaw 7, Daly 8, Biggar 7, Laidlaw 6, Marler 6, Best 6, Cole 7, Henderson 7, Lawes 9, Haskell 7, Tipuric 7, Stander 7
Replacements: Dacey, Dell, Francis, Hill, Jones, G. Davies, Russell, Seymour
Referee: Jerome Garces