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Gatland, Best delighted with pre-Test boost

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Lynn McConnell     21 Jun 2017     Getty Images

The Lions scored four tries without response, including another penalty try, in their 34-6 win.

Best, the Ireland captain, was determined the game would not go the way of the Australian tour four years ago when the equivalent game produced a disappointing result, and it was something that had affected earlier Lions tours when the side split between the Test side and the midweekers.

"I said to the guys, regardless of what happens off the back of this, don't regret this fixture and the way you perform," Best said.

"It was something we really tried to channel and produce a performance from."

"For me, personally, to have captained those boys, when you get to the 80th minute and your tighthead prop that has been on the pitch for every one of those minutes, makes the turnover to end the game, it shows the commitment the boys had," he said.

Best added that they were a wider squad and it was important to feel they contributed in terms of victory and momentum.

"I think we've done that and I think we're in a good place going forward into Saturday," he said.

Gatland said he thought the win was 'really important' for momentum going into Saturday's first Test against the All Blacks in Auckland.

"The result was pretty important for that group of guys," Gatland said, "We didn't want this group not winning and they have come out and given a commanding performance.

"Over the last couple of days they had spoken about the disappointment for the guys who were involved in losing the Highlanders game, and games where we've been in front with 70-odd minutes on the clock [the Blues]."

Gatland said it was clear in the post-game dressing room that everyone recognised what the win meant, not just the team who beat the Chiefs, but for the squad overall.

"You could see how pleased they were for the players who took the field tonight," he said.