And welcome to the sixth match of the British & Irish Lions tour of New Zealand.
We’re just four days away from the first Test in Auckland, so today’s match has a ‘dirt trackers’ feel to it but with two defeats from their two midweek matches so far, the Lions would dearly love a victory today to boost momentum heading to Eden Park. With all six recent call-ups on the bench, there’s every chance that only one of today’s matchday 23 – Warren Gatland has 45 players at his disposal – will make it into the Test squad.
It is not impossible however for one or two to put their hands up and it is the back three of Liam Williams, Elliot Daly and Jack Nowell who are perhaps best placed. George North is not at the top of his game at present and so look out for a flying first half from one of that trio and perhaps an early withdrawal. What part Alun Wyn Jones plays from the bench will also be indicative of how Gatland intends to use the Wales captain on Saturday.
The Chiefs meanwhile, are without their All Blacks which means no Sam Cane, no Anton Lienert-Brown, no Brodie Retallick and no Nathan Harris while most of their players who turned out for the Maori All Blacks – namely Damian McKenze, Charlie Ngatai and Tawera Kerr-Barlow are also missing. Liam Messam is on the bench however, as is Hika Elliot while at fly-half is Stephen Donald, the 2011 World Cup hero. The prop Nepo Laulala and the second-row Dominic Bird do have All Blacks caps however while Samoa’s Tim Nanai-Williams – cousin of Sonny Bill – is at centre.
Kick of is just over 45 minutes away, and here are your teams in full.
Chiefs: S Stevenson; T Pulu, T Nanai-Williams, J Fa’auli, S Alaimalo; S Donald (capt), F Christie; S Fisiihoi, L Polwart, N Laulala, D Bird, M Allardice, M Brown, L Boshier, T Sanders.
Replacements: H Elliot, A Ross, A Moli, L Messam, M Karpik, J Taumateine, L Laulala, C Tiatia.
British & Irish Lions: L Williams; J Nowell, J Payne, R Henshaw, E Daly; D Biggar, G Laidlaw; J Marler, R Best (capt), D Cole, I Henderson, C Lawes, J Haskell, J Tipuric, C Stander.
Replacements: K Dacey, A Dell, T Francis, C Hill, S Warburton, G Davies, F Russell, T Seymour.
Referee: J Garces (France).