Owen Farrell injury leaves Lions with leadership crisis

Clyde Nash
June 16, 2017

The Wales coach and the Lions generally have learned from Sir Clive Woodward's error in New Zealand in 2005 of running a Test squad and midweek group, both with differing agendas.

The Lions kick off at 8.34am BST on Saturday, and face The Chiefs on Tuesday before they finally take on the challenge of the All Blacks on June 24.

While the Lions have seen individual All Blacks in action for Super Rugby teams so far on tour, Friday's match will give the tourists the first glimpse of a full All Blacks team and a better sense of the challenge awaiting them in the three-test series.

Te'o, who grew up in Orewa, north of Auckland, played rugby and league before leaving for Australia and the NRL as a 17-year-old, has already shone on this tour as a player who will nearly certainly be in the mix for the first test against the All Blacks. Though, that is something which he chose no to do following the tour-ending injury to Stuart Hogg.

And that's why we've gone with a lot of the combinations from last Saturday. "So it is all about that 80 minute performance, no fear and go out and smack them". There are big games coming up for you.

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"I don't know if that was fairytale stuff, I have put a lot of hard work into my career and you have got to take your opportunities when they come", he said.

Hansen followed that up with what appeared to be a little dig at the number of southern hemisphere born players in the Lions squad.

Code hopper Williams, a standout performer when the Auckland Blues beat the Lions last week, returns to the All Blacks for the first time in two years after focussing on rugby sevens at the Olympics after the 2015 World Cup final and then suffering a crippling Achilles injury. "You just think 'How can I defend that?'".

The All Blacks host Manu Samoa at Eden Park tonight as part of the Pasifika double header following Wales against Tonga.

Fullback Ben Smith will lead the side for the first time in the absence of Kieran Read, who is still recovering from thumb surgery.

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Test your knowledge by taking our quiz. "Our vision was to position Maori rugby in the worldwide area, we had to be in the top four, and that is always where we position the team to be", Mr Te Pou says.

"They've been successful, guys around me have been successful and the amount of people I've learnt off - not just the captains who I've been involved with, but the other players I've been around as well".

With Billy Vunipola ruled out before the tour left Britain, losing another lynchpin in Farrell would be a bad blow to the Lions' prospects.

"Obviously losing the experience that both these players bring is crucial and David's leadership will be missed", coach Alama Ieremia said.

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Other reports by Info About Network

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