Home Rugby Sir Graham Henry Claims A Reshuffle In The Pack Is A Must If The Lions Are To Have Any Chance In The Second Test

Sir Graham Henry Claims A Reshuffle In The Pack Is A Must If The Lions Are To Have Any Chance In The Second Test

Warren Gatland is expected to make a number of changes to the Lions team to face the All Blacks on Saturday to the one that lost 30-15 last time out.

The Kiwi coach suggested before their draw against the Hurricanes that the captain for the first Test, Peter O’Mahony, would be replaced by Sam Warburton for the crucial game Maro Itoje is also likely to come into the starting XV.

Courtney Lawes and Iain Henderson threw their hats into the ring on Tuesday with phenomenal showings in the thriller with the Canes.

Sir Graham Henry, the only man to have both coached and coached against the Lions, explained the changes he’d make to Brian Moore on the Daily Telegraph’s Full Contact show.

“I would imagine the Lions would change their (second) rows for the next Test.

“I think the two English boys (Itoje and Lawes) will start the game.

“I thought No.8 (Taulupe Faletau) was absent in the first Test and I don’t know if anyone else can add to what they’re doing there.”

Henry makes a good point regarding the problem position of the pack. Gatland is tripping over flankers and second rows that deserve to start the game but CJ Stander is really the only viable alternative to Faletau at eight and the Munster man played 80 minutes on Tuesday morning, a sure sign he’ll play little to no part at the weekend.

British & Irish Lions Tour To New Zealand 2017 1st Test, Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand 24/6/2017 New Zealand All Blacks vs British & Irish Lions British & Irish Lions' Anthony Watson and Taulupe Faletau dejected  Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/James Crombie

The Christchurch native also identified where the first game was won and lost.

They got beaten at the scrum, they got beaten at the breakdown the All Blacks took their try-scoring opportunities, the Lions didn’t.

“The scrum needs to improve. If you can’t scrum you can’t win in my opinion and I don’t know if personnel changes can change that.

“The All Blacks had an ascendancy at scrum. They were rock solid and their second try was due to blowing the Lions off the ball.”

Many have suggested Ireland’s Jack McGrath could take Mako Vunipola’s place in the fifteen due to his superior scrummaging skills with the Saracens prop coming off the bench to show off his prodigious ball-carrying skills.

Henry, who led the Tourists in 2001, later criticised the side’s back three from the first Test.

“And the other thing is the back-three got flaky on the high ball and that where Rieko Ioane scored his second try. Liam Williams and the two wingers struggled with the high ball. Watson, Williams and Daly are better than that.”

British & Irish Lions Tour To New Zealand 2017 1st Test, Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand 24/6/2017 New Zealand All Blacks vs British & Irish Lions Lions' Anthony Watson, Elliot Daly and Liam Williams dejected after the game Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

“The back three for the All Blacks did make a couple of mistakes but generally they were very solid, whereas he back three of the Lions struggled as the game went on under the high ball.”

Despite their aerial struggles, Watson, Williams and Daly were widely praised for their performances and will likely retain their spots for Saturday’s pivotal clash.

The game kicks off at 08:35 GMT with an All Blacks win ending the series as a contest.

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