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PREVIEW: NZ Provincial Barbarians v British & Irish Lions

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Lynn McConnell     01 Jun 2017     Getty Images

NZ Provincial Barbarians v British & Irish Lions, Toll Stadium, Whangarei, 7.35pm, June 3, 2017

TALE OF THE TAPE
A new team on the log of New Zealand sides to have appeared against international touring teams the Provincial Barbarians are an innovative link to the legacy of bygone days in rugby and they represent some significant ties to the past. As a scratch combination they have had only a week in which to prepare for this game but it is a significant boost for each of their careers and the prize of an impressive showing against the Lions could be a big boost for their future rugby careers. By the same token, the Lions are also without combinations although with their greater experience they should be able to cope and quickly adjust to the situations they face in this game.


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NEW DIRECTION
Provincial Barbarians coach Clayton McMillan said all the indications are that his team have come together well. "We've kept things relatively simple with the emphasis on creating an environment where the players can express themselves and represent their provinces with price. We recognised it's going to be a hard game but we have plenty to play for and the boys can't wait to get out there."

COMBINATIONS TO WATCH
The battle for the breakdown is always crucial and with their Welsh combination of Sam Warburton, Ross Moriarty and Taulupe Faletau, the Lions have a head start on their rivals. But Lachlan Boshier has been a big mover with his opportunities provided through injury in the Chiefs this year while his cohorts James Tucker and Mitchell Dunshea have had less chances. However, enthusiasm on Boshier's lead could take them a longway. Behind the pack halfback Greig Laidlaw and first five-eighths Johnny Sexton will share a lot of the burden of getting the Lions on the right track. If they can, then look to the English mid-field pair of Ben Te'o and Jonathan Joseph to try and create some mayhem. But with Dwayne Sweeney's experience and the potential of Inga Finau there might be more substance than realised in the home midfield.



TEAMS:

NZ Provincial Barbarians: 1.Aidan Ross (Bay of Plenty), Sam Anderson-Heather captain – Otago), 3.Oliver Jager (Canterbury), 4.Josh Goodhue (Northland), 5.Keepa Mewett (Bay of Plenty), 6.James Tucker (Waikato), 7.Lachlan Boshier (Taranaki), 8.Mitchell Dunshea (Canterbury), 9.Jack Stratton (Canterbury), 10.Bryn Gatland (North Harbour), 11.Sevu Reece (Waikato), 12.Dwayne Sweeney (Waikato), 13.Inga Finau (Canterbury), 14.Sam Vaka (Counties Manukau), 15.Luteru Laulala (Counties Manukau).

Substitutes: 16.Andrew Makalio (Tasman), 17.Tolu Fahamokioa (Wellington), 18.Marcel Renata, 19.Matt Matich (Northland), 20.Peter Rowe (vice captain – Wanganui), 21.Richard Judd (Bay of Plenty), 22.Jonah Lowe (Hawke's Bay), 23.Junior Ngaluafe (Southland).

British & Irish Lions: 1.Joe Marler, 2.Rory Best, 3.Kyle Sinckler, 4.Alun Wyn Jones, 5.Iain Henderson, 6.Ross Moriarty, 7.Sam Warburton (captain), 8.Taulupe Faletau, 9.Greig Laidlaw, 10.Johnny Sexton, 11.Tommy Seymour, 12.Ben Te'o, 13.Jonathan Joseph, 14.Anthony Watson, 15.Stuart Hogg.

Substitutes: 16.Jamie George, 17.Mako Vunipola, 18.Tadhg Furlong, 19.George Kruis, 20.Justin Tipuric, 21.Rhys Webb, 22.Owen Farrell, 23.Jared Payne.