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emfizz.com December 15, 2017


Justin Marshall: Lions showed their big weapon in win over Crusaders

20 June 2017, 09:58 | Andy Ferguson

The Lions have answered a few of the questions posed from the shaky start to the tour against the Barbarians and the loss the Auckland Blues. Every Lions Tour I was on, in games three, four and five the curve of improvement just climbs, because you're with the best players.

Richie Mo'unga got Crusaders' only points in the first half as the home side could not cope with the Lions' intensity and trailed 9-3 at the interval.

"I'll be honest with Gats and he will be honest with me. But, as we saw and as we know, there is more than one way to play".

"I don't think it's nerves or a frantic nature", he said.

"And if I don't need anything more then I'll obviously let him know that with a good performance".

But he returns to side looking to continue to build momentum after bouncing back from a shock midweek loss to the Blues, the worst performing Super Rugby franchise this season, last Wednesday with a win over the Crusaders - who now lead the Super Rugby competition.

Farrell also insists he has faith in fly-half Dan Biggar's ability to lead after the Welshman was cleared to play against the Highlanders.

British and Irish Lions team to face the Highlanders on Tuesday: J Payne (Ireland), J Nowell, J Joseph (both England), R Henshaw (Ireland), T Seymour (Scotland), D Biggar, R Webb (both Wales), J Marler (England), R Best (Ireland), K Sinckler, C Lawes (both England), I Henderson (Ireland), J Haskell (England), S Warburton (Wales, capt), CJ Stander (Ireland).

"To concede only three points is huge for us". They have got some very good All Blacks players in that team and it was a good hit-out, but that is all it is really.

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'The other boys have played since and played pretty well but Dan's in the hot seat on Tuesday night and looking forward to it.

Their matches tend to be open and high-scoring and they will have All Blacks flyhalf Lima Sopoaga and winger Waisake Naholo among a risky crop of backs ready to capitalise on any lapses in the touring side's defensive line.

Whether that's true or not, the Lions will feel they took giant strides towards being the team they want to be come the first test.

If he comes through in Dunedin, Warburton will be in the first of those two categories.

Several Lions gave their Test selection hopes a boost, most notably Farrell and Irish halfback Connor Murray, whose towering box kicks created constant problems. The business end of the tour is fast approaching.

They're stretching sides out wide but have been unable to consistently get the final pass to hand or make the right decision in terms of getting over the line. Could we see that combination again in the Test matches?

I thought there were two areas where there was concern.

Highlanders will be missing All Blacks Ben Smith and Aaron Smith for the clash, but New Zealand global trio Malakai Fekitoa, Waisake Naholo and Lima Sopoaga will get a look at the Lions.

The Lions have sent Stuart Hogg to be assessed by a specialist after he suffered a nasty cheekbone injury by clashing with Murray in Christchurch.



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