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Dublin: 14 °C Thursday 2 July, 2020


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Rory’s arrived

Rory Best arrives Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

CJ’s arrived

CJ Stander arrives Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

The whole damn team has arrived in Hamilton for this morning’s final tour match before the Lions face the real deal, the All Blacks.

Kick-off isn’t until 08.35, so you’ve time to whip yourself up some breakfast, go out and buy that milk, think up a good excuse not to be in work for the next few hours or just hit the snooze button one last time.

Here are the full line-ups for this morning’s clash, the penultimate non-Test.

The Chiefs have World Cup-winning out-half Stephen Donald at the wheel with Tim Nanai-Williams in the centre after being part of the Samoa side that was trounced by the All Blacks on Friday.

Robbie Henshaw and Jared Payne form a familiar centre partnership for the Lions,, while Iain Henderson and CJ Stander will hope to show their ability to make gainlines.

Rory Best captains the side, but he like everyone else involved looks set to miss out when the full caps are handed out later this week.

Chiefs:  Shaun Stevenson; Toni Pulu, Tim Nanai-Williams, Johnny Faauli, Solomon Alaimalo; Stephen Donald, Finlay Christie; Siegfried Fisi’ihoi, Liam Polwart, Nepo Laulala; Dominic Bird, Michael Allardyce; Mitchell Brown, Lachlan Boshier, Tin Sanders.

Replacements: Hika Elliot, Aidan Ross, Atu Moli, Liam Messam, Mitchell Karpik, Jonathan Taumateine, Luteru Laulala, Chase Tiatia

Lions: Liam Williams; Jack Nowell, Jared Payne, Robbie Henshaw, Elliot Daly; Dan Biggar, Greig Laidlaw; Joe Marler, Rory Best, Dan Cole; Iain Henderson, Courtney Lawes; James Haskell, Justin Tipuric, CJ Stander.

Replacements: Kristian Dacey, Allan Dell, Tomas Francis, Cory Hill, Alun Wyn Jones, Gareth Davies, Finn Russell, Tommy Seymour.

‘So are you and Farrell playing together or what?’

Johnny Sexton catches up with 2009 Lion Stephen Ferris.


Jonathan Sexton speaks with Stephen Ferris before the game Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Warren Gatland has been speaking to Sky Sports ahead of kick off, and has said his side are desperate for the ‘W’. Yes, he did say that on live TV.

“A win is the most important thing for this group of guys, they are well aware. They have trained well in the last couple of days and it is important they get things right tonight. They are desperate they get a W on the board.”

Ryan Bailey here to guide you through all the action as it happens while Murray Kinsella is in position in Hamilton as we bring you minute-by-minute coverage of the 2017 Lions tour.

A view of FMG Stadium Waikato before the game Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

As always, if you want to join the conversation, tweet us: @The42_ie, e-mail or post your thoughts in the comments section below.

It’s a big night for Rory Best.

Rory Best with Stephen Donald and Jerome Garces at the coin toss Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Warren Gatland with Andy Farrell before the game Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Chiefs fans before the game Source: Photosport/Bruce Lim/INPHO

Solid pre-match tunes at the FMG Stadium as the Chiefs emerge to the chorus of ‘The Eye of the Tiger’ and now it’s time for the haka, the 67th of this tour already.

We’re nearly set for the real business of the night.

Kick off! Jerome Garces checks that everything is in order and he gives Dan Biggar the thumbs up to get us underway.


Elliot Daly makes a thundering hit from the kick off as he flattens Finlay Christie. The Chiefs retain possession and an early penalty gives Donald the chance to hammer it down into the Lions 22 — but Lawes steals the line out!


Brilliant work from Tipuric as he shows superb strength to hold Mitchell Brown up, and with assistance from Henderson, forces the turnover.


A decent Lions following among the 30,000 sell-out crowd in Hamilton.

Lions fans before the game Source: Photosport/Bruce Lim/INPHO

Lions fans before the game Source: Photosport/Bruce Lim/INPHO


The Chiefs looking to ping the Lions back inside their own half but Shaun Stevenson’s kick is overcooked and goes out on the full. A good attacking platform here for the tourists.


Some good attacking intent from the Lions as they probe and look to put down an early marker in this contest. Jack Nowell is heaving involved as he makes two big carries and Garces eventually comes back for a penalty in front of the posts after the move came to nothing.


PENALTY! Chiefs 0-3 Lions (Biggar)

Biggar makes no mistake from in front of the posts as he gets the Lions up and running in Hamilton.


Rory Best speaks to the team before the game Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

The Lions team huddle before the game Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Jack Nowell with Finlay Christie Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO


Questions asked of the Lions’ defence now as the Toni Pulu cuts through a gap but we’re going to the TMO as Garces asks him to have a look for potential foul play from Joe Marler.


Yellow! That is just brainless from Joe Marler, as he hits Nepo Laulala late and with a no arms tackle. The referee had no option there but to send him to the bin for 10 minutes.


The Chiefs have been forced into an early changes with Toni Pulu being carted off. We eventually get back underway and Donald turns down the shot at goal to kick for the corner.


The Chiefs look to inch their way towards the line with a driving maul but CJ Stander gets himself into a great position to get his hands on the ball. The Lions win the scrum.


A lot of fist pumping and bum slapping there as the Lions win the scrum penalty with Dell in the front row and Jared Payne operating in the back row.


Elliot Daly gets the ball in hand for the first time on this near side but is hit hard and he just bounces into touch. The Lions steal the lineout, however, and work it infield before winning another penalty and Biggar is going to have a shot at goal.


PENALTY! Chiefs 0-6 Lions (Biggar)

Two from two for the Welsh out-half as the Lions extend their early advantage.


Laidlaw’s attempted clearance is charged down and the Chiefs move it along their backline, looking to stretch the Lions for the first time this evening.

The Lions are then penalised for hands in the ruck and Stephen Donald will have the chance to get his side on the board.


PENALTY! Chiefs 3-6 Lions (Donald)

Donald, the 2011 World Cup winning out-half, nails the penalty. 22 minutes played in Hamilton.


Garces tells scrum-half Christie to stop talking so much and it takes the advice on board to concentrate on the rugby, as he picks the ball up at the base of the ruck and darts through to get the Chiefs going forward.

It’s more frustration for the hosts though as the ball is knocked on and the Lions win the scrum.


Not Henshaw’s finest moment there as he looks to turn the Chiefs defence but his grubber through goes out on the full. Good attacking intent from the Lions but again the execution just hasn’t been there.

One area they are dominating, however, is the line out and the Chiefs lose another one to hand possession back to the Lions. More good work from Lawes.


Dan Biggar kicks a penalty Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

James Haskell with Dominic Bird Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Elliot Daly Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO


Liam Williams has been bright all evening and he’s involved again as Nowell tears down the right. The winger runs into traffic but the Chiefs are scrambling, and the Lions look to spread it wide quickly.

Flag 26Mins

TRY! Chiefs 3-13 Lions (Nowell)

Nowell is involved at the start of that move and he’s on hand to finish it off as he picks it up at the base of the ruck and dives over the top to score the game’s first try. Much better from the Lions and a lot of credit has to go to Williams there as his beautifully timed pass originally set Nowell on his way.


The Lions are dominating possession and territory now but the momentum is gone momentarily as Daly fumbles in the tackle. It has been a fine 28 minutes for Gatland’s side.


Although the Lions will be pleased with the way they’ve started, this game has been a stop-start affair and hasn’t been much of a spectacle so far. Lawes, Williams and Nowell have impressed so far.


Jack Nowell scores their first try Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Jack Nowell celebrates scoring their first try with Greig Laidlaw Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Jack Nowell celebrates scoring their first try with Greig Laidlaw Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO


After a quick drink, the Lions win another penalty and opt for the corner. A big maul from the tourists has the Chiefs backpedaling at a fierce rate but they’re somehow stopped inches from the line and Garces awards the Super Rugby side the scrum.

They hold firm and peel away off the back before Dan Biggar is penalised for a high tackle, and the fact he slipped and fell into the tackle saves the out-half from going to the bin.


The Chiefs have been unable to get their passing game going and are really feeding off scraps at the moment. This move is better though as Christie injects some pace into the attack with another darting break and then Daly is pinged for being offside.


PENALTY! Chiefs 6-13 Lions (Donald)

Easy as you like for Donald as he knocks over his second penalty of the night.

Flag 40Mins

Half time! Chiefs 6-13 Lions 

And that’s the last action of the half with Jack Nowell’s try separating the sides.


A good 40 minutes of rugby for the Lions having largely dominated the contest with the likes of Lawes, Williams, Biggar and Nowell all impressing so far.


We’re back underway! Donald kicks us off again and it’s gathered by CJ Stander.


Not a whole lot happening if we’re being completely honest. It’s all very scrappy and possession is changing hands regularly.


Biggar launches an up and under towards half time and Chase Tiatia takes it brilliantly, timing his jump to perfection, but Garces spots that Nowell was blocked off and awards the Lions the penalty.


Rory Best isn’t having the evening he would have wanted at the line out as another poor throw gives the Chiefs a reprieve.


Donald clears his lines but here come the Lions again. Williams is hit hard in midfield and does well to retain the ball before Henshaw carries powerfully. The Chiefs are standing firm, however, and shut the door as they look to counter.


The Lions are scrambling and Lawes makes a brilliant tackle to halt the Chiefs in their tracks. The hosts come again and are throwing everything at their guests as they look for a route back into the game.


That last passage of play was frenetic and there’s no doubt the Chiefs are starting to really threaten. The Lions survive on that occasion and look to spring their own counter with a powerful maul.

As Biggar kicks for touch, Lawes is heading off for a HIA and Alun Wyn Jones is on in his place.


The Lions go to the corner and Best tries to snipe his way down the blindside but that avenue is blocked and the Gatland’s side have to come again.

Flag 54Mins

PENALTY TRY! Chiefs 6-20 Lions 

The Lions are turning the screw here and they power their way towards the Chiefs line, where Henderson looks to get it down but Garces is already going under the posts to award the penalty try.

Mitchell Brown is also sent to the bin and the Lions are in complete control now.


Penalty try becomes top try scorer for the Lions on this tour.


Good to see Courtney Lawes is ready to come back on after passing that HIA and Alun Wyn Jones trudges off again. 23 minutes remaining in Hamilton.

Flag 60Mins

TRY! Chiefs 6-27 Lions (Nowell)

Scrap that last comment, Nowell is over for his second of the tour! We finally see some expansive, exciting, free-flowing rugby from the Lions as they counter with a move involving Daly, Henshaw and then the Exeter winger finishes with an inside step.

That all stemmed from the 22 and a turnover line out with Biggar adding the extras.


Gatland makes another change with Daly making way for Tommy Seymour.


Iain Henderson is held up over the line as the team are awarded a penalty try Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Iain Henderson is held up over the line as the team are awarded a penalty try Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Tempers flare in the second half Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO


TRY! Chiefs 6-34 Lions (Payne)

The Lions are motoring now and Williams cuts through midfield before offloading to the supporting Payne who runs it in under the posts. Biggar adds the conversion.


While the Lions have been dominant and, to a certain degree, impressive this evening it’s worth remembering that the Chiefs are missing the core of their side with Nathan Harris, Brodie Retallick, Sam Cane, Tawera Kerr Barlow, Aaron Cruden and Anton Lienert-Brown away with the All Blacks.

That said, the likes of Jack Nowell, Liam Williams and Elliot Daly have done themselves no harm with good performances.


A quick reminder: we’ll be live over on Facebook at around 12pm Irish time to analyse this game and look ahead to the first Test with Murray Kinsella.

You can get your questions in for Murray via email ( or send us in your first Test XVs and we’ll pick through some of your selections during the show.


Just on Henderson’s performance, he has been everywhere this evening and after a slow start to the tour has really grown in stature over the last few games.


The Lions really should have gone over for another try there after Williams counters and Seymour makes the break. The Scottish international picks a brilliant line and has Payne to his left but his pass is woeful and it goes to ground.


Jack Nowell celebrates scoring their third try with Justin Tipuric, Iain Henderson, Rory Best and Dan Cole Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Jared Payne scores their fourth try Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Jared Payne celebrates scoring their fourth try with Greig Laidlaw Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO


Payne has trudged off and is replaced by Daly, who comes back on after being replaced a little earlier. Hopefully the Ulster man hasn’t picked up anything serious.


Breathless end to proceedings in Hamilton as the Chiefs look for a consolation score. Tempers fray a little on that far side as the Lions shut the door and force the turnover.

Flag 84Mins

Full time! Chief 6-34 Lions 

A comprehensive victory for the Lions in their final warm-up game before the Test series as they ran in three tries to thump the Chiefs in Hamilton. There were a number of impressive performances with Liam Williams, Jack Nowell and Iain Henderson among those standing out.

It’s onto Auckland now and the small prospect of the All Blacks in the first Test!


You can read Murray Kinsella’s on-the-whistle report from the FMG Stadium here.

Jared Payne celebrates scoring their fourth try with Greig Laidlaw Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO


Thanks for joining us this morning and remember we’ll be over on Facebook at around 12pm Irish time to look back on the game in Hamilton and look ahead to Saturday’s first Test.

Until then, goodbye!

About the author:

Ryan Bailey