Rieko Ioane is ready - Hansen

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Lynn McConnell     23 Jun 2017     Getty Images

Hansen said Ioane came through as the player who been in the best form and that got him the left wing ahead of Julian Savea and Waisake Naholo and for the first Test he was the preferred option.

"He's a young man we've got a lot of confidence in and he's managed to head off two very good rugby players," he said.

The choice of Ryan Crotty at centre outside Sonny Bill Williams was down to looking to Anton Lienert-Brown to provide a similar effect to what Williams achieved off the bench at the Rugby World Cup in 2015.

Hansen said as a challenge the Lions series was up with the Rugby World Cup. Being a series there were three Tests and it was the same for both sides.

"You can feel the enthusiasm and the hunger in the hotel with the players. They're really up for it, and that doesn't guarantee you to win the thing but it does guarantee that your attitude's right and we know if our attitude's right and we get our clarity right then we're a good side and it means the opposition have to be too.

"They've selected a side that's capable of playing a different type of game than we play and that in itself is intriguing and it is going to be interesting to see the result once it has all be played out," he said.

Hansen responded to claims from Lions coach Warren Gatland that he was worried. But he said he was 'cool, calm and excited'. He maintained his oft-stated belief that worry was a wasted emotion.

Hansen said there was some understandable nervousness about captain Kieran Read but from the time of his broken thumb occurring there had been a programme around his recovery which was timed for this weekend and aimed at having Read ready to play for 80 minutes if required.

"He's jumping out of his skin, he can't wait and like all of our players, we have a massive amount of respect for the Lions' history. We've done a lot of talking about it amongst ourselves. The past is important because it helps shape the future," he said.

"We're really looking forward to what is coming at us, and we know it's going to be a massive challenge, but that's the sort of thing that gets this team really excited."

The difference to a Rugby World Cup was that it came around every for years while the Lions was a once in 12 years and it wasn't a knockout. It was played over three matches and the sides had to perform over three Tests to get the result they wanted.

Hansen said he wasn't prepared to get into 'bullying' the referees through the media. They were entitled to a chat before the game and that would be where they raised any issues or concerns they had.

Play around the breakdown would be 'massive'. Rocket scientist credentials weren't needed to understand the All Blacks wanted to play with quick ball and the Lions would want them not to. Usually the tactics for slowing the ball down were the tackler staying in the tackle a little longer and not rolling away.

"All we want there is for the referee to make sure he refs to the rules and if he does that then everyone will get an opportunity. It applies to both teams, it will be a big part of the game," he said.