Lions, NZ Maori name star studded sides to square off

by Sam Phillips

The New Zealand Maori side that will face the Lions on Saturday night is a strong one, with nine All Blacks named.

The team is littered with stars and would no doubt be competitive with any other Test side in the world.

James Lowe, Nehe Milner-Skudder and Rieko Ioane form a power packed back three, with Charlie Ngatai and Matt Proctor lining up in the centres.Tawera Kerr-Barlow gets the nod at halfback. Photo: Getty ImagesDamian McKenzie will steer the ship at flyhalf inside of Tawera Kerr-Barlow, with Liam Messam, Elliot Dixon and Akira Ioane packing down in the backrow.

Tom Franklin and Joe Wheeler will start in the second row, while Ben May, Ash Dixon and Kane Hames will start in the front row.

It's a formidable starting XV but Warren Gatland has named a similarly strong starting XV as the tourists ramp up their preparations.Leigh Halfpenny comes back into the Lions side. Photo: Getty ImagesLeigh Halfpenny, Anthony Watson and George North will look to match the attacking firepower of the Maori back three, with Ben Te'o and Jonathan Davies tasked with limiting the impact of Ngatai and Proctor.

Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton start in the halves, with Taulupe Faletau, Sean O'Brien and Peter O'Mahony lining up in the backrow.

George Kruis and Maro Itoje will start in the second row, with Tadhg Furlong, Jamie George and Mako Vunipola looking to assert some dominance in the front row.


New Zealand Maori team to face the Lions

1. Kane Hames

2. Ash Dixon

3. Ben May

4. Joe Wheeler

5. Tom Franklin

6. Akira Ioane

7. Elliot Dixon

8. Liam Messam

9. Tawera Kerr-Barlow

10. Damian McKenzie

11. Rieko Ioane

12. Charlie Ngatai

13. Matt Proctor

14. Nehe Milner-Skudder

15. James Lowe


16. Hika Elliot

17. Chris Eves

18. Marcel Renata

19. Leighton Price

20. Kara Pryor

21. Bryn Hall

22. Ihaia West

23. Rob Thompson


British and Irish Lions team to face New Zealand Maori

1. Mako Vunipola

2. Jamie George

3. Tadhg Furlong

4. Mario Itoje

5. George Kruis

6. Peter O'Mahony

7. Sean O'Brien

8. Taulupe Faletau

9. Conor Murray

10. Johnny Sexton

11. George North

12. Ben Te'o

13. Jonathan Davies

14. Anthony Watson

15. Leigh Halfpenny


16. Ken Owens

17. Jack McGrath

18. Kyle Sinckler

19. Iain Henderson

20. Sam Warburton 

21. Greig Laidlaw

22. Owen Farrell

23. Elliot Daly