Warren Gatland headed back to Hamilton and Waikato to face his old club. His face is branded all over Hamilton as he is appreciated as a ‘club legend’. He selected a team with all 6 late call ups on the bench while the Chiefs named a much weakened side (well if you take Liam Messam and Tim Nanai Williams out of the equation!) Nonetheless, the Lions prepared for a 1st test against New Zealand so both team were in about the same boat.
The Chiefs started things off pre match with another haka. Liam Messam lead it and the Lions accepted it.
Dan Biggar quite literally kicked things off with a penalty before Joe Marler was sent to the bin for a reckless no arms challenge. However, it was Dan Biggar who slotted his second before Stephen Donald notched one and Joe Marler ca.
25 minutes in, the Lions snatched their and the game’s first try. Dan Biggar and Liam Williams exploited their number down the right hands side and Jack Nowell flew into the 22. CJ Stander then made an extremely powerful 15 metre carry and after yet another sturdy carry from Joe Marler the Lions began to edge towards the line. Dan Biggar hit half a gap but it was the quick thinking of Jack Nowell which eventually resulted in a try. The English winger scooped the ball up from the bottom of the ruck and caught the Chiefs unawares, so he dived over!
After the Biggar conversion, the Lions the Lions lead by 13-3 but Stephen Donald struck his second penalty on the stroke of halftime to give his side, who were being dominated, a glimmer of hope.
HALF TIME CHIEFS 6 – 13 BRITISH AND IRISH LIONS
On this tour and on previous tours the Lions have prided themselves on set pieces. They were giving the Chiefs a masterclass in mauling and as they rumbled towards the line, Mitchell Brown flew in and collapsed the maul illegally thus meaning Jerome Garces showed the flanker a yellow card and awarded the Lions a penalty try! Also with a new law enforced, no conversion needed to be taken so it was an automatic 7 point score.
The Chiefs were being annihilated and when Liam Polwart through his lineout astray and the Lions began to counter, their game was in tatters. Elliot Daly used his pace to get on the outside of Jonathan Taumeteine then he offload to Jared Payne who in turn found Robbie Henshaw but the centre was just caught. However, the opportunity was still there and Jack Nowell threw the dummy to send Stephen Donald the wrong way, beat Tim Nanai Williams for pace then stepped beautifully back inside of his right foot and danced in! What a score from the Lions!
The Waikato team had forgotten their game plan and began to chuck the ball around in hope something would happen but, much like the majority of the game before, nothing seemed to stick. They attempted a chip from their own 22 metres line which Jack Nowell easily took in. He then offloaded to Liam Williams who was running with a lot of pace. The Welshman sliced straight through like a knife on butter and in acres of space pulled off a sensational step. He was caught just in time but kept his head up and flung the ball Jared Payne who scurried in untouched.
It had been a marvellous performance from the tourists with Jack Nowell and Courtney Lawes both starring. The English contingent was going strong and that was topped off when Dan Cole pinched the ball out of a breakdown and Liam Williams booted the ball off the park. It was a great victory and fantastic preparation for the the first test in Auckland.
FULL TIME CHIEFS 6 – 34 BRITISH AND IRISH LIONS