ABs treating Samoa test seriously: Hansen

ABs treating Samoa test seriously: Hansen

ABs treating Samoa test seriously: Hansen

Owen Farrell faces a race against time to be fit for the British and Irish Lions' first Test against New Zealand after suffering a quadriceps strain.

Te'o, a second-five 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.

Hansen said Lions coach Warren Gatland clearly had a midweek side and a stronger weekend team.

Despite their shaky early form and losses to the Blues and Highlanders, the Chiefs veteran said the Lions side was one of the strongest he could recall.

Ben Te'o said: "All I have been focussing on this week is getting my body right, making sure I'm physically right to go". We've obviously seen how he plays in the big contests.

We would like to congratulate everyone who has been selected for this Test, particularly "Benda" (Ben Smith), who will captain the side for the first time.

The Saracens star has appeared to be the most effective of the Lions fly halves on the tour but is now a doubt for the three-match series against the All Blacks.

Sonny Bill Williams will start at inside center in his first test since the 2015 Rugby World Cup final, combining in midfield with Anton Lienert Brown.

O'Mahony is now happily ensconced in the Lions set-up and his first start against the Crusaders last weekend couldn't have gone much better as he stole a lineout, offered nice handling skills and thundered into contact when required.

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New Zealand and Samoa have met in seven previous tests, most recently in Apia in 2016 when the All Blacks won 25-16.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen yesterday said that the British and Irish Lions had split into two squads and were about to call for reinforcements as the first Test looms.

"We know that Conor Murray is going to kick the ball a lot".

"Samoa is about to kick off the qualifying stage of their Rugby World Cup campaign, so this will make them even more risky", Hansen said.

Hooker Dane Coles continues to be troubled with concussion symptoms while fly-half Aaron Cruden, centre Ryan Crotty and loose forward Liam Squire have knee, rib and thumb injuries.

Samoa will use the match as a springboard into midyear tests, which include World Cup qualifying games during the Pacific Nations Cup.

"He never takes a backward step and we believe that those leadership qualities will serve us well on Saturday against a quality and determined Maori All Blacks team". "We have to be smart". For the players who aren't involved the message is we've seen in the past how significantly the team can change from Test one to two to three.

Warburton is only on the bench, though he is the one player Gatland is hoping comes though to face the All Blacks at Eden Park a week tomorrow.

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