HAMILTON, New Zealand — Rory Best will captain the British & Irish Lions against the Chiefs on Tuesday night with Warren Gatland including all six of the players called up on Saturday on the bench.
The team selected for their midweek match gives a strong steer on the side which will face the All Blacks on Saturday with Gatland previously saying he wanted to protect that 23 as best he could. The absence of Sam Warburton means he is firmly in the mix for the first Test as is Jonathan Joseph.
Best joins Joe Marler and Dan Cole in the front-row with Iain Henderson packing down with Courtney Lawes in the second-row. James Haskell, Justin Tipuric and CJ Stander form the back-row.
Greig Laidlaw and Dan Biggar pair up at half-back with Robbie Henshaw joining Jared Payne in the centres. Jack Nowell, Elliot Daly and Liam Williams form the back three.
All six of the Lions’ new call ups are on the bench where they are joined by Alun Wyn Jones and Tommy Seymour.
“We are five games into the tour and there is still a lot to play for,” Gatland said. “Those involved on Tuesday will be playing not only for themselves in terms of further selection but also for the whole squad.
“We are here to win a Test series and we have brought cover for the replacements bench so we can limit the number of players who need to double up, which is tough to do at this level of rugby.
“We know it is going to be another big challenge against the Chiefs who have won the Super Rugby title twice in the last five years.”
British & Irish Lions:
Liam Williams, Jack Nowell, Jared Payne, Robbie Henshaw, Elliot Daly, Dan Biggar, Greig Laidlaw; Joe Marler, Rory Best (captain), 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