Gatland's big gamble as O'Mahony is handed the armband

Gatland's big gamble as O'Mahony is handed the armband

And to the delight of the Irish public, O'Mahony will lead out the Lions on Saturday. Now in a player-coach role at Harlequins, with over 17 years in the game, Jones' knowledge of the sport is unrivalled and he gives his expert insight to ESPN.

The 2005 Lions tour against the All Blacks was heavily criticized for the number of players included in the squad and the number of matches they played. It felt right because he had earned the right to be there and he had stepped up his game when called upon to be a Lion. You can see the energy out there.

It is encouraging, therefore, that the noises coming from the camp suggest they are confident they can win.

Conversely the officials shouldn't turn a blind eye to shoulder charges and obstructions from players trying to shield their teammates going for high balls. "It is something we're really looking forward to, and we can't wait".

The fitness of Read, Kaino and Crotty will be a major issue for the All Blacks in the first match of the three-test series.

It is a huge responsibility for one so tender in years and experience (this will be just his third test, and his first start).

"If it remains wet then that plays into the Lions hands - they have the capability of building a score and that is what they have to do".

On the bench, Jack McGrath, Ken Owens and Kyle Sinckler are the frontrow replacements and, along well with Itoje, Warburton, Sexton and Halfpenny, are joined by Rhys Webb.

What Gatland has done by selecting these players, is potentially sow discord in the camp in the home stretch of the tour. For one thing they will have noticed the size of their travelling fan base swell as the clock ticks towards kick off at Eden Park. "It is something only a few great All Blacks get to do". I thought he dealt with the referee well as well, respectfully speaking to the referee without being in his ear too much.

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"Nothing is ideal in this life and if someone is determined enough they probably will get something, but all we can do is try to ensure that they don't".

The Munster man is no doubt a popular choice as captain and social media has gone into overdrive to congratulate the 27-year-old. We walked back to the hotel at around 11 p.m. and had to navigate about 200 Lions fans.

"We haven't complained about that stuff. the referees have identified some of that and hopefully it gets stamped out of the game".

The fans enjoy chatting and are a huge reason why Lions tours are as big as they are, but the business is done on the pitch.

Daly's inclusion on the wing became more likely after his strong performance in the Lions' 34-6 win over the Chiefs on Tuesday.

"Great shout having @SanjayWills at 15".

After biting his tongue, Gatland said Hansen's comments showed he was anxious about the Lions and also accused New Zealand players of illegal blocking tactics.

"In the midfield [Gatland] he'll go for more power with Jonathan Davies and Ben Te'o", added O'Sullivan.