Lions tour to take step up in intensity against the Blues

Ireland's Kiwi-born centre Jared Payne will also start, having recovered from a calf strain that ruled him out of Saturday's 13-7 tour-opening victory over the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians.

Stander will line up alongside James Haskell and Justin Tipuric in a balanced back-row as the Lions bid to keep the Blues' full-strength line-up at bay in the second clash of their 10-match tour.

"And we don't want to be proscribed, and we don't want to play by numbers". You don't know the answer to that do you? I don't know, when did a -certain style change?

"If you can tell me the answer to that, when that time frame was appropriate, I can potentially give you an answer".

Gatland has been under relentless pressure from critics after his first Lions team, boasting over 750 Test Caps of Test experience and four worldwide captains, snuck home with a victory against an under-manned Provincial Barbarians 13-7 on Saturday, in Whangarei.

"It's just another game, it's good to be back but you've just got to approach it as another game and not get too caught up in it - if there's 40,000 there at Eden Park it'll be rocking and there'll be plenty of noise, pretty cool to play in front of".

"These players are being encouraged to develop their level of skills and to go out there and to do that".

"So hopefully we can show that on Wednesday and the players can do that and perform to what they are being encouraged by the coaches to do".

"They've got some real quality individuals that we have to take care of but we're excited about the game, we're looking forward to it", Gatland said.

The most significant decision that Warren Gatland made yesterday, when he picked the Lions team to play against the Blues in Auckland tomorrow, was maybe choosing which players to leave out.

The Blues coach's spear tackle while playing for the All Blacks against the Lions in 2005 was a hot topic for media today.

"I could never have imagined at that point that I'd be a Lion".

Executed with hooker Keven Mealamu after just 41 seconds of the match in Christchurch, Umaga's tackle resulted in the Lions captain dislocating his shoulder, sparking controversy that overshadowed the rest of the tour.

"That was 12 years ago". Defence-wise, they've got a good few operators and I think if we make a mistake they're going to punish us.



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