The Lions team to play the Auckland Blues :
Halfpenny; Nowell, Payne, Henshaw, Daly; Biggar, Webb; McGrath, Owens (captain), Cole, Itoje, Lawes, Haskell, Tipuric, Stander
Replacements: Best, Marler, Sinckler, Henderson, O’Mahony, Laidlaw, Sexton, L Williams
Not too many surprises here. Good to see Halfpenny start. I so want him to play well. Also good opportunity for Nowell and Daly who Gatland clearly sees as a winger. Looks like he’s saving North and Liam Williams and Farrell and Murray for Crusaders.
Interesting that CJ Stander is playing 8, when he’s played 6 all season. Even more reason as to why he should’ve picked Hughes as a replacement for Billy as there’s a plethora of flankers. The only 8’s seem to be Faletau, Stander and Moriarty, who played flanker on Saturday, plus O’Brien at a push.