England wing Jack Nowell scored two tries as the British and Irish Lions recorded an impressive win over Waikato Chiefs in the last tour game before Saturday’s first Test in Auckland.
A Jared Payne score, a penalty try and 12 points from the boot of Welsh stand-off Dan Biggar took the Lions’ record to won four, lost two ahead of the weekend’s first showdown with the All Blacks.
Scotland loosehead Allan Dell made his first appearance in a red jersey, coming off the bench as a sin-bin replacement and winning a scrum penalty. Tommy Seymour also came on as a replacement, but Finn Russell, who was called up with Dell at the weekend, remained on the bench. Scotland skipper Greig Laidlaw played at scrum-half.
It was an impressive performance by the so-called “midweek side” as they overwhelmed the Chiefs, who are coached by Dave Rennie, who takes over as Glasgow Warriors coach next season.
Lions coach Warren Gatland said: “I hope we are peaking at the right time. We always felt that we would get better the longer we spent together. We were more clinical today, we squeezed them, didn’t concede any tries and played some good rugby, finished off a few chances.
“We will look at the video tonight and announce the team to the squad tomorrow night. I thought the back three were good and I had told both Nowell and [Elliot] Daly that there were chances for them. You never know what is going to change between the first and third Test.”
Lions skipper Rory Best said: “I told the lads before kick-off that if we let this one slip by you’ll regret it. We have not been getting the wins but we have been putting ourselves into positions to win and win comfortably.
“We picked ourselves off the ground and did well. It would have been easy to give away a try in the final stages there but we kept marching forward and to have a tight-head prop make the turn-over in the last three minutes summed it up.”
Double tryscorer Nowell added: “We want to come out here and be remembered. We wanted to move the ball about and any try in a Lions shirt means a lot.”