Banks gives Highlanders thrilling win over Lions

Dropped All Black Malakai Fekitoa

Dropped All Black Malakai Fekitoa

It was their second defeat on tour. It gets you excited and pumped to watch rugby.

The Lions only visit New Zealand, South Africa and Australia, but are considering adding fixtures against other nations from 2021 onwards.

Lions skipper Sam Warburton had conceded his first Test place against New Zealand was in doubt after recent injury problems.

Saturday's encounter with the New Zealand Maori promises to not only be another brutal and hard-hitting encounter, but also one likely that will see the majority of the test side in action.

The Lions boss has excellent options in nearly every department, even if some contenders played themselves completely out of the equation in Tuesday's defeat to the Highlanders.

The Daily Mail reported the Nadroumai-born flyer as saying that the Lions playing Fiji, Argentina and the Pacific Island countries would be great for rugby.

Jackson Hemopo and Dillon Hunt were two players to really shine, while Gareth Evans and Luke Whitelock were prominent throughout the match.

"They didn't deal with the high ball or the Highlanders kicking game".

They placed themselves on the front foot through varying their attack in the face of the the Lions' aggression. This will of course feed the talk of a 3-0 whitewash for the All Blacks.

"I don't know what the outcome will be on the weekend, but it was a big improvement from him, and the more game time he plays the better he's going to be".

Jonathan Davies must prove his fitness in training on Thursday to be able to stake a British and Irish Lions Test match claim in Saturday's Maori clash. They pressured them on numerous occasions at the ruck - perhaps surprising their more seasoned opposition - with their pace and tenacity and certainly troubling the Lions from unstructured play. But with the "mid-week" team now losing two matches in a row, while the "test" team defeated the much vaunted Crusaders, the Lions squad is being split very definitely along the lines of "dirt-trackers" and first-choice players.

The Highlanders believe they've uncovered some Lion-busting methods which might be of interest to the All Blacks.

Henderson played the full 80 minutes and brought the required drive and aggression in attack and defence.

Elliot Daly was about to take a 55-metre penalty to win the game with just minutes left when referee Angus Gardner noticed he had placed the ball a metre further forward than where he felt the mark was.

"I was lucky enough to go on tour to Australia with England last summer". The Lions will be more than ready.

"They spent a lot of time playing in their half and that's exactly what we wanted". A number of key players have been ruled out or are just returning from long injury lay-offs.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen may lean towards Dagg to start against Samoa in Auckland on Friday because of his lack of game time.

He expects the Christchurch conditions to prevail for the rest of the tour.

"The Lions also regularly creep up offside on defence - they call it "line speed".

Will the Lions be competitive against a strong Chiefs side?

"I thought Jared Payne struggled a wee bit".

When it comes to the test series, the first two games will surely be tight affairs.

Gatland's starting back row? "He's absolutely gutted. We're feeling for him".

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