Lions call up 4 Wales players as tour reinforcements

CloseDan BiggarWALJohnny SextonIREOwen FarrellENG

CloseDan BiggarWALJohnny SextonIREOwen FarrellENG

Gatland came under fire for appearing to prioritise geographic proximity over meritocratic selection by adding four Wales players and two Scots to his touring party.

He has called on Gareth Davies, Cory Hill, Tomas Francis and Kristian Dacey from Wales and Scotland's Finn Russell and Allan Dell, all of whom have been named on the bench against the Chiefs.

England are now touring Argentina while Ireland are in Japan.

The Lions will not be such a pushover when it comes to defending, though Lienert-Brown has said, just like Gatland has preached, that they have something in the locker that they will unleash in the Test series.

"Warren's made it no secret this was his plan all along", said scrum-half Greig Laidlaw.

Best captained the Lions before against the Brumbies during the 2013 tour of Australia, and the announcement caps off a memorable few days for the Poyntzpass man who was awarded an OBE for his services to rugby on Friday. He thought it would be successful then, and it did indeed work, and now he's gone down the same track.

Schmidt's squad, who are in Tokyo for a two-Test series with Japan, were also bypassed, but the Kiwi agreed with Gatland's tactics.

"Some of the stuff people have been saying puts a bit of a dampener on the tour - but that's professional sport now - you've got to live with that". I can't speak more highly of that.

17 June 2017; Peter O'Mahony of the British & Irish Lions during the match between the Maori All Blacks and the British & Irish Lions at Rotorua International Stadium in Rotorua, New Zealand.

The Lions beat the Maori All Blacks 32-10 on Saturday morning.

All six players are on the bench on Tuesday. "It's part of the game in New Zealand, all New Zealand teams are doing it at the moment. we've just got to hope the referees, assistant referees and the TMOs pick up what's going on".

"It's been a little bit harshly at times, I've been looking for it and I'm still looking for it now", said Farrell of several offside penalties against the Lions.

"We're still not confirmed in a number of the combinations and finalising what we want at second row, back row, the back three combination, midfield".

The New Zealander made his comments ahead of the Lions match against Waikato Chiefs on Tuesday but they were aimed squarely at Jaco Peyper, the South African referee in charge of Saturday's first Test at Eden Park.

But the fact they are in the midweek team, playing just four days before the first Test can not be ignored and Tommy Seymour's place on the bench on Tuesday suggests his chances of featuring against the All Blacks are slim.

The Lions' six mid-tour call-ups will all be on the bench for Tuesday's Chiefs clash in Hamilton.

The 33-year-old Donald, a veteran of 100 matches for the Waikato-based Chiefs, is by far the most-seasoned member of a lineup depleted by the loss of players to the All Blacks and the New Zealand Maori squads.

"Leigh Halfpenny obviously took a knock on the weekend and he is going through the HIA protocols".

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