Rugby

New Zealand Media Think Sean O'Brien Should Start 1st Test Ahead Of Warburton

New Zealand Media Think Sean O'Brien Should Start 1st Test Ahead Of Warburton

The Lions had their final warm-up match this morning, taking on the Chiefs having not won a midweek match on the tour so far. Warren Gatland was under a little bit of pressure, so a win would've been the perfect tonic ahead of the first test on Saturday morning.

And that's what they got, with Jack Nowell impressing.

The various media outlets in the Southern Hemisphere were mixed in their response to the comfortable victory.

Liam Napier of stuff.co.nz did not hold back in his criticism of the tourists,  citing the weakened Chiefs side as something the Lions should've capitalised on more:

Let's keep in mind this was a Chiefs team missing 10 players, six of those All Blacks. Stripped of so many stars, they will be the most depleted Super Rugby team the Lions face on this tour.

From Rory Best's wonky lineout throwing to Greig Laidlaw's slow clearance and average box kicks; Joe Marler's dumb shoulder charge and Dan Biggar's indecisiveness from first five-eighth, the Lions weren't entirely convincing, though their set piece was strong and rush defence again caused problems

Napier also made an interesting, if unrealistic, call about the form of captain Sam Warburton. He, like many others, expects Peter O'Mahony to be named as captain on Saturday, but as for the Welshman? Napier thinks Sean O'Brien should get the nod.

If Gatland picks on form there should be no place in his test squad for captain Sam Warburton.

Sean O'Brien should start at openside flanker and brutal South African-born Stander is a must inclusion on the bench, with Peter O'Mahony expected to be named captain and Taulupe Faletau continuing his rampage from No 8.

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His colleague Mark Reason meanwhile, tore into the ''epidemic'' which has slowly crept into New Zealand rugby when it comes to the kick chase:

The Chiefs were just as guilty of blocking the Lions runners whenever they tried to chip over the line. The officials for yesterday's game will all be in place for the first test, with the exception of the TMO, and the Lions had decided it was time to make their case.

At one point captain Rory Best went up to Garces and said, "When we put those little dinks in behind them they're body checking.

In the NZ Herald, Gregor Paul focused on the potential in the back three for Warren Gatland. Paul was a fan of the trio that started this morning:

George North on the left wing for the Lions test team hasn't fired since he came to New Zealand and looks well short of form and confidence.

Anthony Watson, has been lively and is a good direct, runner and finisher, but Daly and Nowell offer more footwork, more energy and more problems to defenders.

With the test team being announced at 8pm tomorrow, we'll see if O'Brien can sneak in ahead of the Welsh and Lions skipper.

SEE ALSO: Player Ratings As The Lions Beat The Chiefs To Finally Win A Midweek Game

David Kent

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