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Here’s Who Should Start For The Lions Against The Auckland Blues On Wednesday

“It was a tough match, very tough. We learned a lot tonight in terms of knowing how tough it is to come to New Zealand and how motivated the teams are going to be against us.” 

“It’s good that we have some footage to work off now, we can get back into training, tomorrow will be a day off then Monday we can start building again.”

Words from Warren Gatland and Sam Warburton, respectively. To be fair, they were always going to put on a brave face after that admittedly poor Lions performance. The squad have only been in New Zealand for three days after over 24 hours travelling. A disjointed performance was perhaps to be expected but the margin of the victory was the concerning factor for the Lions, considering the nature of the opposition.

Nevertheless, it’s done and 22 players got some rugby under their belts (Elliot Daly never came on). Focus now clearly shifts to the events which will take place at Eden Park in Auckland on Wednesday and that is, of course, a clash with Tana Umaga’s Auckland Blues.

Gatland has stated that he plans to pick an entirely different 15 to the one that faced the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians on Saturday, so with that in mind, we take a look at who may start against the Blues on Wednesday.

  1. Jack McGrath
  2. Ken Owens
  3. Dan Cole
  4. Maro Itoje
  5. Courtney Lawes
  6. Peter O’Mahony
  7. Sean O’Brien
  8. CJ Stander
  9. Conor Murray
  10. Dan Biggar
  11. George North
  12. Robbie Henshaw
  13. Jonathan Davies
  14. Jack Nowell
  15. Leigh Halfpenny


16. Jamie George

17. Mako Vunipola

18. Tadhg Furlong

19. George Kruis

20. James Haskell

21. Rhys Webb

22. Jonathan Sexton

23. Liam Williams

This was actually a lot more difficult to choose considering the necessity to have an out half and scrum half on the bench, in additon to the likelihood of a 5+3 split on the bench – just like Saturday’s game with the Barbarians.

Owen Farrell’s omission is due one simple reason, Sexton will want to right the wrongs of today’s performance and potentially coming off the bench alongside his international teammate Murray or Rhys Webb for that matter should ease him into the game. Farrell’s form has been excellent for Saracens and England and has little to prove at this stage.

Elliot Daly may get a spot on the bench due to his ability to cover the centre positions but we think Wednesday’s team will be close to the one the one that you see above.


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Author: Sean McMahon

Sean is Deputy Editor and head rugby writer. You can contact him by email [email protected] or on Twitter