Welsh and Scottish players to make up Lions team v Chiefs
Warren Gatland will call up players from the two country’s squads touring in the vicinity
British and Irish Lions warm up during training in Rotorua. Photo: Billy Stickland/Inpho
Warren Gatland is set to radically overhaul the Lions team to play the Chiefs in Hamilton next Tuesday by calling up half a dozen players or more from the Welsh and Scottish squads which are touring in the vicinity. This is in keeping with his stated intention to ring-fence the chosen match-day 23 to face the All Blacks in the first test at Eden Park a week hence.
This is also the policy Gatland adopted for the last midweek game before the first test against the ACT Brumbies four years ago, when the retired Shane Williams was amongst those recalled.
Ideally the Lions head coach would like the starting XV and replacements to face the All Blacks to be completely rested from the Chiefs game in Hamilton next Tuesday. Given this would mean six of the nine frontrowers will be on duty against the Lions, so there will be a need to call up at least three frontrowers, along with at least one lock, one scrumhalf and an outhalf.
This sizeable influx of temporary additions are more likely to be called up from the Welsh squad, who are playing Tonga in the first leg of an international double-header in Auckland tonight, and Scotland, who are playing Australia tomorrow, than an Irish squad currently based in Japan.