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Kieran Read on course to captain All Blacks in first Test

20 June, 2017, 12:36 | Author: Alberta Rodriguez

He said officials stopped the tactic in the Maori All Blacks match last Saturday, coinciding with the Lions' best performance on tour so far in a 32-10 win.

"I'd say from 70-30 (in favour of the All Blacks) it's gone to about 55-45 now".

"He has been a big part of the leadership group for a long time now, and just the way he grew into the (captaincy) role previous year", Foster added.

"What the guys who have captained the side so far have realised is they don't have to be vocal all the time, because there's always people that's helping them out and I think the balance has been great so far".

"I'm very proud of my roots and looking forward to what will be a great occasion".

Six of the Lions substitutes were only called up at the weekend.

"If you look at them, they're probably some of the most in-form loose forwards over the last couple of years", Kaino said.

Some of the players themselves have been spotted cruising around town in Land Rovers, while supporters decked out in jerseys, hats and jackets were making the most of Hamilton's hospitality and stunning sunshine today.

Gatland made clear when he appointed Warburton as tour skipper that it did not necessarily guarantee the Welshman a starting Test place.

The All Blacks were stunned by the Irish back-row's ferocity that day, and the Lions will be hoping to capitalise on that in the fast-approaching Test series.

But Farrell insisted the Lions are completely happy with the refereeing teams appointed for the Test series. Leigh Halfpenny, meanwhile, is continuing to go through the required return-to-play protocols after taking a bang to the head against the Maori but Farrell insists the Wales full-back remains on course to face the All Blacks.

Steve Hansen is wasting his time trying to wind up the Lions ahead of Saturday's opening Test, Andy Farrell says.

"The frustrating thing for us is the amount of blocking that's going on, the off-the-ball stuff", Gatland told reporters. "And Owen seems to be all good, that seems to have settled down".

Our team of expert commentators, reporters and pundits includes World Cup victor Ben Kay as lead co-commentator for all three Tests against the All Blacks, with fellow former Lion and Welsh legend Shane Williams also a key part of talkSPORT's coverage for the Test series and other tour matches.

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