PREVIEW: Highlanders v B&I Lions

Mon, 12 Jun 2017 08:39
Large tommy seymour british and irish lions 2017 800

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: The British and Irish Lions will be looking to score more tries when they face the Highlanders on Tuesday.

The Lions have only scored two tries in their three matches on tour so far. They failed to cross the whitewash in their 12-3 victory over the Crusaders in Christchurch last weekend.

"I have no doubt in my mind that this group of players will find its rhythm and once we do it will be happy days," B&I Lions wing Tommy Seymour said in an interview on the Lions website.

Seymour added: "I can't wait [for the match against the Highlanders], I am really looking forward to it.

"We have all come out here looking forward to playing, Gats [Lions head coach Warren Gatland] has been able to give everyone the starts as he explained, now it is coming round to second bites of the cherry and I am really looking forward to mine.

"What's clear is that we are putting ourselves in positions to score tries.

"We are building relationships with each other, we start to familiarise yourself with how players think and certain lines they like to run."

Seymour, who started against the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians, will be playing alongside Jack Nowell and Jared Payne in the back three against the Highlanders.

"We would be lying if we said we weren’t a little bit disappointed that we hadn’t crossed the whitewash a few more times," he added.

"It is only so long you want to go creating those opportunities and not finishing them off, you can only be pleased for so long about creating them. It is no good having them and not converting.

"But it's a lot easier to go finishing off those final passes than it is to go from creating nothing.

"We are doing a lot of work and will continue to do a lot of work on our communication and accuracy levels in those final moments and if we do we will try and get across the whitewash.

"I have no doubt in my mind that this group of players will find its rhythm and once we do it will be happy days.

"It can be a case of getting that first dot down, a simple run in or a great finish whatever it may be, and then it can be a tidal wave and they all come after that."

Seymour is also relishing his showdown with Highlanders and All Blacks wing Waisake Naholo.

"That’s the theme for this trip, there is a lot of talent in the back three over here and certainly Naholo fits right into that," he said.

"He is a fantastic player and a very tricky opponent but one we are looking forward to and these are the challenges both as a team and individually that we knew we were going to face and it's an exciting opportunity for myself and us as a backline to try to go out and hopefully get the better of them."

Players to watch:

For Highlanders: Centre Malakai Fekitoa will have something to prove after being left out of the three-Test series against the British and Irish Lions: Flyhalf Lima Sopoaga will also be wanting to put in a polished performance ahead of the Test series. Wing Waisake Naholo is a devastating ball runner when he is in form. In the pack, hooker Liam Coltman has been excellent in Super Rugby this season, while No.8 and captain Luke Whitelock puts in a lot of work during the 80 minutes.

For British and Irish Lions: Captain Sam Warburton has been under a lot of scrutiny lately and he will need a big performance against the Highlanders. Christiaan Stander seems to be the second-best No.8 on tour for the Lions behind Taulupe Faletau so far and the Irishman will be looking to make a step up in Dunedin. In the backline, scrumhalf Rhys Webb has a good eye for the gap, while his halfback partner Dan Biggar will also be looking for an improved performance after his last showing.

Head to head: Malakai Fekitoa will be hurting after being left out of the All Black squad and his showdown in the midfield with Jonathan Joseph is a mouth-watering one. Lima Sopoaga and Dan Biggar are both top-class flyhalves with an array of skills, while Tommy Seymour will have a tough time marking the big man Waisake Naholo.

Prediction: The British and Irish Lions are a bit more confident after their win over the Crusaders. They also seem to be developing an effective way of stopping New Zealand's exciting ball runners with their rush defence. It will be another bruising encounter with the Lions edging this one by eight points or less.


Highlanders: 15 Richard Buckman, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Teihorangi Walden, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Kayne Hammington, 8 Luke Whitelock (captain), 7 Dillon Hunt, 6 Gareth Evans, 5 Jackson Hemopo, 4 Alex Ainley, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown.
Replacements: 16 Greg Pleasants-Tate, 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Siosuia Halanukonuka, 19 Josh Dickson, 20 James Lentjes, 21 Josh Renton, 22 Marty Banks, 23 Patrick Osborne.

British & Irish Lions: 15 Jared Payne, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 Tommy Seymour, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Christiaan Stander, 7 Sam Warburton (captain), 6 James Haskell, 5 Iain Henderson, 4 Courtney Lawes, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Rory Best, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Ken Owens, 17 Jack McGrath, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Alun Wyn Jones, 20 Justin Tipuric, 21 Greig Laidlaw, 22 Owen Farrell, 23 Elliot Daly

Date: Tuesday, June 13
Venue: Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
Expected weather: Showers are expected around kick-off time with a temperature of around 5°C. There will also be a strong breeze.
Kick-off: 19.35 (08.35 UK & Ireland time; 07.35 GMT)
Referee: Angus Gardner
Assistant referees: TBC

@lionsofficial & @rugby365com

There are currently no matches being played
Fri, 23 March 2018
Crusaders v Bulls 06h35 Christchurch
Rebels v Sharks 08h45 Melbourne
Connacht v Edinburgh 19h35 Sportsground
Dragons v Cheetahs 19h35 Rodney Parade
Glasgow Warriors v Zebre 19h35 Scotstoun
Bath v Exeter Chiefs 19h45 Recreation Ground
Sat, 24 March 2018
Sunwolves v Chiefs 04h15 Tokyo
Hurricanes v Highlanders 06h35 Wellington
Kings v Treviso 13h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
London Irish v Gloucester 15h00 Madejski Stadium
Saracens v Harlequins 15h00 London
Sale Sharks v Worcester Warriors 15h00 AJ Bell Stadium
Stormers v Reds 15h15 Newlands
Cardiff Blues v Ulster 15h15 Cardiff Arms Park
Munster v Scarlets 17h30 Thomond Park
Newcastle Falcons v Northampton Saints 17h30 Kingston Park
Ospreys v Leinster 19h35 Liberty Stadium
Jaguares v Lions 19h40 Estadio Jose Amalfitani
Sun, 25 March 2018
Leicester Tigers v Wasps 15h00 Welford Road
Sun, 18 March 2018
Waratahs v Rebels 51 | 27
Sat, 17 March 2018
Jaguares v Reds 7 | 18
Wales v France 14 | 13
Lions v Sunwolves 40 | 38
England v Ireland 15 | 24
Stormers v Blues 37 | 20
Italy v Scotland 27 | 29
Brumbies v Sharks 24 | 17
Highlanders v Crusaders 25 | 17
Fri, 16 March 2018
Cardiff Blues v Treviso 31 | 25
Edinburgh v Munster 12 | 6
Chiefs v Bulls 41 | 28
Sun, 11 March 2018
Wales v Italy 38 | 14
Sat, 10 March 2018
Jaguares v Waratahs 38 | 28
France v England 22 | 16
Team P W D L Pts
B&I Lions 0 0 0 0 0
Australia 0 0 0 0 0
Barbarians 0 0 0 0 0
Force 0 0 0 0 0
Reds 0 0 0 0 0
Waratahs 0 0 0 0 0
Brumbies 0 0 0 0 0
Rebels 0 0 0 0 0
NSW-Queensland 0 0 0 0 0
Blues 0 0 0 0 0
Highlanders 0 0 0 0 0
Hurricanes 0 0 0 0 0
Crusaders 0 0 0 0 0
Chiefs 0 0 0 0 0
NZ Barbarians 0 0 0 0 0
Maori All Blacks 0 0 0 0 0
New Zealand 0 0 0 0 0