Lions stick to selection plan for tour match vs Crusaders

British and Irish Lions' Rhys Webb

British and Irish Lions' Rhys Webb

Incumbent skipper Sam Warburton has again been rested.

The Lions' next match is against the Crusaders in Christchurch on Saturday (kick-off 09:35 SA time).

Conjure a fine performance to fend off the frustrations of the Blues defeat, and the Lions who face the Crusaders could well sit in pole position for Test shirts.

The British and Irish Lions will face a Crusaders squad featuring seven New Zealand players on Saturday.

But by pairing England star Farrell and Ireland scrum-half Murray here - along with slotting Ben Te'o alongside Wales centre Davies - the Crusaders clash is nearly a dry run for some key cogs of a potential Test XV.

For Conor Murray, who makes his first start in red since 2013, it is about tightening up on discipline rather than opening up with the ball necessarily. But, for now, Gatland insists: "We haven't spoken about a Test combination".

Jones is the third successive Welsh captain named by Warren Gatland, who has also picked his first-choice half-backs, Conor Murray and Owen Farrell, to start together for the first time. The first two games we have been a bit soft in that area and we've got to be hard on ourselves as players and coaches to tighten up on that.

"Last night's result against the Blues was disappointing and we know we can't afford to give away so many penalties". The home team are leading this year's Super Rugby table and are right up for this particular game.

"I don't think there's any comparison to Super Rugby and Test rugby, but he's probably trying to make a light comment possibly", Hansen said after naming his 33-man squad on Thursday.

Crusaders head coach Robertson believes the Blues' victory on Wednesday will only serve to harden the Lions' will to win, with the tourists bidding to ignite their 10-match tour.

If the Lions are to succeed, then they'll need to score tries and they have amassed two in 160 minutes so far on this tour.

Robertson said that Saturday's match with the Lions will be a special moment in his players' professional careers, and that while the Lions have some of the best global players in world rugby, the Crusaders also have their own collection of world beaters.

Robertson said: "This is a huge and exciting challenge for us".

The Crusaders, Highlanders and the Hurricanes will all unveil challenges ahead of their matches against the Lions, while the Chiefs will perform a haka initially created specifically for them prior to the 2012 Super Rugby final and seen most recently when they played Wales in 2016.

Crusaders: Israel Dagg, Seta Tamanivalu, Jack Goodhue, David Havili, George Bridge, Richie Mo'unga, Bryn Hall, Jordan Taufua, Matt Todd, Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, Sam Whitelock (capt), Luke Romano, Owen Franks, Codie Taylor, Joe Moody.

Meanwhile, all three of the Barrett brothers - lock Scott, fly-half Beauden and outside back Jordie - have been named in the New Zealand squad for the Test series.

Like the Blues, who toppled the Lions 22-16 on Wednesday, they have access to their Test players.

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