Preview: Hurricanes v B&I Lions

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 06:08

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: British and Irish Lions prop Joe Marler will be out to right the wrongs against defending Super Rugby Champions the Hurricanes on Tuesday.

Marler's last match on tour was the Lions 34-6 win against the Chiefs last Tuesday. He was not included in the matchday 23, which lost the opening Test against the All Blacks 15-30 last weekend.

Marler will be fighting for a spot in the Lions team for the second Test, but he will need to work on his discipline after receiving a yellow card in the clash against the Chiefs.

"I can only play as well as I can, do my job as well as I can for the team," Marler said in an interview on the Lions website. 

"At times on Tour I have not done that, but I am fully committed to doing that on Tuesday.

"There is no extra motivation, we are motivated to beat the reigning Super Rugby champions, they top all the stats and have unbelievable players.

"It is a hell of a game to be involved in and I am excited about it."

Marler added: "I am not in control of that [Test selection], it is up to Gatland and that lot to pick the team.

"Steve [Borthwick] for me has been very good at making sure these are the things to work on if I want to be part of the Test team.

"Borthers said today, it is a lot easier to learn from a loss, there are things to pick up on. Those midweek games weren't actually a bad thing for us to pull our fingers out.

"Going 1-0 down early in the series, we are under the pump and in a position where we have to win this next game to make the Tour go the entire length, so you will see a reaction this week both in training and more importantly on the weekend."

Marler said the highlight of the tour for him so far was getting to know his British and Irish Lions teammates.

"It was not until after the second or third game that you really start to get to know the guys," he added.

"Particularly for me playing with Rory Best from the start, training together from the start and I am enjoying getting to know that midweek team.

"It was not until the second or third game that we started really gelling and I think we showed that against the Chiefs in the performance and getting the win.

"It has taken a little while, and that is what has been the toughest thing about the Tour, getting to know everyone and trying to play the best way we can all together.

"These are players I had played against and you do have a beer after those games, but you don't really get to know them.

"You get to know them when they are sleeping next to you, picking their arse and farting all night.

"That is when you really get to know someone, so that has been my highlight of the Tour."

Players to watch:

For Hurricanes: There is plenty of talent in the Hurricanes' backline. Centres Vince Aso and Ngani Laumape are the leading try-scorers in Super Rugby, while fullback Jordie Barrett has been a revelation on attack for the Wellington outfit. There are also two All Blacks on the wings in the form of Julian Savea and Nehe Milner-Skudder. In the pack, blindside flank Vaea Fifita has power and pace to cause havoc in open play.

For British and Irish Lions: Jack Nowell has been a force on the wing in recent games and it will be interesting to see how he goes from the fullback position. centre Jonathan Joseph is an exciting ball-runner, while Dan Biggar was also impressive in the win against the Chiefs last week. In the pack, lock Courtney Lawes gives his team a lot of power in the physical exchanges, while Dan Cole is an effective scrummager.

Head to head: In the midfield, Vince Aso and Ngani Laumape have both been brilliant for the Hurricanes, but Jonathan Joseph and Robbie Henshaw will provide them with their biggest challenge in their careers so far. 

Prediction: The Hurricanes are the reigning Super Rugby champions, but they will find it tough against a hungry Lions team. The Lions will take this one by 10 points or less.    

Teams:

Hurricanes: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 13 Vince Aso, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Otere Black, 9 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 8 Brad Shields (captain), 7 Callum Gibbins, 6 Vaea Fifita, 5 Sam Lousi, 4 Mark Abbott, 3 Jeff To'omaga-Allen, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Ben May.
Replacements: 16 Leni Apisai, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Mike Kainga, 19 James Blackwell, 20 Reed Prinsep, 21 Kemara Hauiti-Parapara, 22 Wes Goosen, 23 Cory Jane.

British and Irish Lions: 15 Jack Nowell, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 George North, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Greig Laidlaw, 8 Christiaan Stander, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 James Haskell, 5 Courtney Lawes, 4 Iain Henderson, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Rory Best (captain), 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Kristian Dacey, 17 Allan Dell, 18 Tomas Francis, 19 Cory Hill, 20 George Kruis, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Finn Russell, 23 Jared Payne.

Date: Tuesday, June 27
Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Kick-off: 19.35 (08.35 UK and & Ireland time; 07.35 GMT)
Expected weather: It will be partly cloudy with a 90 percent chance of rain in the evening. The low temperature is expected to be around 10°C.
Referee: Romain Poite
Assistant referees: Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Jérôme Garcès (France)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)

@lionsofficial & @rugby365com

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B&I Lions 0 0 0 0 0
Australia 0 0 0 0 0
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Force 0 0 0 0 0
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Waratahs 0 0 0 0 0
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