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Murray, SOB, POM and Furlong get first 2017 Lions starts against Crusaders

08 Juin 2017

"Because obviously it was a huge Test against international-quality players and we actually executed those pressure moments and to come away with a result was huge".

With Codie Taylor expected to replace the injured Dane Coles at hooker for the All Blacks, the entire Crusaders front row of Joe Moody, Owen Franks and Taylor is also now expected to start the first test against the Lions at Eden Park on June 24.

Crusaders head coach Robertson believes the Blues' victory on Wednesday will only serve to harden the Lions' will to win, with the tourists bidding to ignite their 10-match tour.

The Lions have named close to their first-choice team as they look to rebound from a poor start to their New Zealand tour.

Umaga made bold calls, naming youngster Stephen Perofeta to his Blues starting debut at flyhalf and ruling All Blacks centre Sonny Bill Williams fit to make his return from a lengthy injury layoff.

Coach Warren Gatland said he would continue to rotate his 41-man squad for the Lions' next match against the undefeated, top-of-the-table Canterbury Crusaders on Saturday.

The Blues first try was scored by Rieko Iowane who received a wide attractive pass from Sonny Bill Williams while Williams dived through a spilled ball from Stephen Perofeta's penalty which hit the goalpost to score the second try.

We are facing some of the best rugby players in the world, but we have some of the world's best in this team too, so it will be a fantastic clash.

But by pairing England star Farrell and Ireland scrum-half Murray here - along with slotting Ben Te'o alongside Wales centre Davies - the Crusaders clash is nearly a dry run for some key cogs of a potential Test XV.

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Vettel let out a whoop of delight after crossing the finish line with bright sunshine gleaming off the famed red of Ferrari . Vettel has been all smiles and compliments this year, emotionally praising his team in Italian after Sunday's win.

Payne carried his calf issue into the Lions tour, and was a late withdrawal from the tour-opening 13-7 win over the Provincial Barbarians.

But the Lions worked their way tirelessly back into the game, drawing two penalties which Halfpenny kicked to edge the Lions into a slender 16-15 lead.

The determined defence of the Blues stood the test as the Lions threw everything at them but they rarely gained significant breakthroughs to make a difference.

"We can't afford to do that against the All Blacks because they'll punish us".

Skipper Ken Owens said he was "hugely disappointed" that the Lions had failed to take more of their chances.

"I think we're going to have to tidy up slightly on our discipline and be a bit more clinical".

"It's tough for them", he said.

And they need to score tries. "That's cost us. So one thing going forward is we have to improve that at this point".

The Lions seized the lead with a try to South Africa-born flanker C.J. Stander from a lineout drive and extended that lead with Halfpenny's first penalty.

Murray, SOB, POM and Furlong get first 2017 Lions starts against Crusaders