Warren Gatland urges officials to crack down on All Blacks' illegal blocking

Leigh Halfpenny British and Irish Lions Maori All Blacks

But it's what the Lions do on Saturday that counts and whoever is selected must deliver.

British & Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland has called on referee Jaco Peyper to keep a close eye on blocking in the first Test against New Zealand on Saturday.

Per Charlie Talbot-Smith of the Lions' website, Gatland said: "The players can put themselves in the frame for potential selection for Saturday, we will need players to double up, and for later in the Tour".

As expected, all six of the controversial call-ups are among the replacements as Gatland looks to protect as numerous Test 23 as possible.

Nevertheless, Gatland said strong performances on Tuesday would be rewarded, whether in Saturday's Test in Auckland or down the track. "There was some outstanding attacking play and it's up to us to make sure we have a plan to make sure they don't get what they want and the play the game at a pace we want to play at".

"He is a little bit more anxious than he normally is, saying these comments about us, things he knows about or doesn't know about, that is normally a sign of a man that is a little bit anxious", Gatland said of Hansen.

Hamilton native Gatland coached former All Blacks playmaker Stephen Donald in his early days at Waikato, and the two will go head to head on Tuesday, a game in which five Ireland players will start.

I was pretty disappointed with the way he played for Leinster in that semi-final.

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"It's a nice stepping-stone for next week", coach Gatland said, after the Lions' victory in wet conditions in Rotorua.

Rory Best will captain the Lions in this midweek fixture and is joined in the front row by England props Joe Marler and Dan Cole, which suggests Kyle Sinckler has earned a bench spot behind expected starting tighthead Tadhg Furlong for the first Test against the All Blacks.

If there's one area where the Lions might have a genuine edge over the All Blacks in the coming three-test series it's arguably goalkicking.

Hooker George believes the Lions fired a warning shot to the All Blacks with their punishing 32-10 Maori win.

"There's no doubt that there's some pressure on certain players and certain combinations have gone well", Gatland said when quizzed about Warburton.

The Lions, though, let their rugby do the talking a day after the All Blacks' 78-0 demolition of Samoa, though, dominating the Maoris in a hugely impressive performance after losing to Highlanders on Tuesday.

"I thought we defended well and the line out and scrum and mauling was excellent". We're used to playing with each other and like I say, you always want a little bit more.

Liam Williams will play fullback against the Chiefs with the chance to fill the utility on the bench in the Test. We're in pretty good shape at the moment.

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