Result, not performance, counted against Crusaders - Gatland

Sam Warburton places a wreath at the Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial in Christchurch

"They will be the fourth set of three brothers to play for the All Blacks following the Brownlie and Nicholls brothers in the 1920s and the Whitelocks in recent years", says Stuff.co.nz. You can move those guys around but you are unlikely to run through them.

He will be a critical addition to a backrow that will be missing injured All Blacks captain Kieran Read, who will visit a specialist tomorrow to assess his fractured thumb, which he hopes will reaffirm that he's on track to play in the first test against the Lions.

"In my area of the game it's a massive challenge".

"I think with Sexton and Farrell, having those two options along with Conor Murray who kicked superbly in that first half especially, it made a difference".

The powerful wing bagged three tries in four appearances during this year's 2017 Six Nations, meaning he has now grabbed seven tries in his past nine matches in the tournament.

"We're not happy with the way we played but full credit to the Lions boys, they didn't allow us to get our flow going", he said.

The Crusaders scrum - They looked strong, at one point motoring the Lions back, but fell foul of referee Mathieu Raynal.

It was made slightly easier by the fact the surface was slippery and the ball was greasy but the Crusaders were too excitable and the Lions forced them into making uncharacteristic errors. "It was a good crowd and it was great to see people enjoying themselves". This was all about pressure and the Lions handled it better than the All Black laden Crusaders.

Crusaders: Israel Dagg, Seta Tamanivalu, Josh Goodhue, David Havili, George Bridge (Tim Bateman 66), Richie Mo'unga (Mitch Hunt 74), Bryn Hall (Mitchell Drummond 61), Joe Moody (Wyatt Crockett 50), Codie Taylor (Ben Funnell 50), Owen Franks (Michael Alaalatoa 50), Luke Romano (Quenten Strange 55), Sam Whitelock (capt), Heiden Bedwell-Curtis (Jed Brown 61), Matt Todd, Jordan Taufua.


But Warren Gatland's tourists brought an intensity and physicality not yet seen Down Under to silence some of the critics and lift the morale on what shapes as one of the most gruelling and hard tours on record.

To say it was a great defensive effort by the tourists is too simplistic.

Those two are unlikely to have spent any time defending on this tour like that. "The timing hasn't been good, as I missed some Blues games, but it has given me time to refresh".

"They just found a way to win".

"I was touring here with Wales last summer and we saw how tough it can be especially in those last 10 minutes".

Two Lions props - Sandy Carmichael and Ray McLoughlin - and backrower Mick Hipwell had to return home due to injuries sustained in that game.

"There was a bit of a heated discussion between the front rowers and the locks, but hey's that rugby, we finish the game, shake each other's hand and get on with it". It is a big ask but it is not impossible.

Stuart Hogg and Jonathan Davies face a race against time to be ready to take on the Maori All Blacks on Saturday.

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