Lions tour: Lions win sticks two fingers up to 'poisonous Kiwi critics' - UK media

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Hindsight is such a beautiful thing - especially after a tough 34-6 loss.

The Lions stuck two fingers up to poisonous Kiwi critics after hammering the Chiefs in Hamilton, according to buoyant British media.

Warren Gatland's Lions won their first midweek game on tour by beating the Chiefs 34-6 in Hamilton on Tuesday.

It was their final outing before the first test at Eden Park on Saturday and the result was "the perfect springboard" for their first encounter with the All Blacks.

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Former Chief Jared Payne dives over for a Lions try.

The Lions' Iain Henderson is held up over the tryline.

Lions wing Jack Nowell dives over for his second try.

Chase Tiatia of the Chiefs charges forward.

Jared Payne of the Lions is congratulated on his try by Robbie Henshaw.

Chiefs captain Stephen Donald of the Chiefs looks on during the first half.

Lions wing Jack Nowell celebrates scoring a double.

Former Chief Jared Payne runs in the Lions' third try.

Siegfried Fisi'ihoi of the Chiefs skips out of a tackle and makes a break.

Robbie Henshaw of the Lions kicks the ball through.

Lions wing Jack Nowell dives over for his second try.

Former Chief Jared Payne is tackled.

Lions wing Jack Nowell is congratulated by team-mate Greig Laidlaw after scoring their team's opening try.

Greig Laidlaw of the Lions kicks downfield as Chiefs halfback Finlay Christie closes in.

Tim Nanai Williams of the Chiefs looks for a way around Robbie Hensha.

Dan Cole throws a pass for the Lions.

Lions wing Jack Nowell dives over to score the opening try.

The Lions' Joe Marler of the sits in the sin bin after receiving a yellow card for a late tackle.

Johnny Faauli of the Chiefs is tackled by the Lions' Elliot Daly.

Chiefs halfback Finlay Christie is hauled down by CJ Stander.

Chiefs second five-eighth Johnny Faauli runs hard at the Lions' defence.

Lions first five-eighth Dan Biggar tackles Tom Sanders of the Chiefs.

The Lions' Iain Henderson is held up over the tryline.

Lions captain Rory Best shouts instructions.

Chiefs first five-eighth Stephen Donald kicks a penalty goal.

Chiefs coach Dave Rennie walks along the sideline.

Lions coach Warren Gatland walks off the pitch ahead of the match.

Lions wing Jack Nowell is tackled by the Chiefs' Lachlan Boshier.

Chiefs captain Stephen Donald kicks the ball through.

Lions first five-eighth Dan Biggar throws a pass.

Liam Williams of the Lions is tackled by Chiefs captain Stephen Donald.

Courtney Lawes of the Lions and Dominic Bird of the Chiefs contest the ball in the lineout.

Chiefs wing Toni Pulu gets medical attention.

CJ Stander of the Lions is tackled.

The Lions huddle together before the match.

Chiefs halfback Finlay Christie is tackled by Iain Henderson of the Lions.

James Haskell of the Lions is tackled by the Chiefs' Chase Tiatia.

Robbie Henshaw of the Lions runs at Chiefs captain Stephen Donald.

Michael Allardice of the Chiefs drives the ball forward.

Liam Messam, centre, and his Chiefs team-mates perform the haka.

The Lions' Elliot Daly skips through the tackle of Finlay Christie.

Lions wing Jack Nowell checks on injured Chiefs wing Toni Pulu.

Robbie Henshaw of the Lions is stopped by the Chiefs defence.

Dan Cole of the Lions charges upfield.

James Haskell of the Lions is wrapped up by the Chiefs defence.

Fireworks before kick-off in Waikato.

The Lions face up to the Chiefs' haka.

Visiting Lions fans made the presence known.

Lions coach Warren Gatland looks on before kick-off.

A Chiefs fan gets ready for a big night.

Nervous Lions fans await the start of the game.

A view of the Lions' dressing room.

Lions fans arrive early for the Waikato clash.

Young Chiefs fans show their colours.

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Owen Slot of The Times said the midweek men had given Gatland food for thought when picking his test team, as well as hitting back at criticism from within New Zealand.

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He wrote: "It was something of a relief, it triggered a big old sing-song in the changing room afterwards, it may just about have forced Warren Gatland to tinker with his squad for the first test and, though it was never remotely the intention, it stuck up two fingers to their poisonous Kiwi critics.

"Like the Saturday team, the midweek Lions' win over the Chiefs was built on defence. The Lions have now stopped two teams on this tour from scoring a try and the one they conceded against the Maori on Saturday came gift-wrapped after an error.

Jack Nowell touches down for one of the four Lions tries against the Chiefs.
GETTY IMAGES

Jack Nowell touches down for one of the four Lions tries against the Chiefs.

"Yes, these Chiefs were a weakened unit, but they never got close to a score.

"The Lions will continue to drive the same defence-wins philosophy. Now it is working, why change it? Here, though, was highlights-reel evidence that they are more than one dimensional.

Mick Cleary in the Telegraph said the Lions are "beginning to pen an entirely different narrative in a country where praise is only ever begrudgingly given." 

He wrote: "The win, forged on the back on three tries in a 12-minute spell in the second-half, featured several splendid sequences of play, including a sweeping length-of-the-field collective try by Jack Nowell, his second of the night, that would have had the world genuflecting if it had been scored by the All Blacks as if pace, imagination and daring are the sole preserve of Kiwis."

Cleary added that this Lions group proved their "one-for-all" ethos existed despite the controversy surrounding Gatland's call-ups of four Welsh and two Scottish players based on practicality.

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"There was enough evidence right throughout the evening of spirit and guts and togetherness to suggest that the entire group is on-message," he said. 

"The test team will take great heart from the manner and the measure of this performance. New Zealanders are on alert. A cracking series is in prospect."

The early substitution of Elliot Daley against the Chiefs has some believing it is a sign he will be on the bench to ...
DAVID ROGERS/GETTY IMAGES

The early substitution of Elliot Daley against the Chiefs has some believing it is a sign he will be on the bench to play the All Blacks on Saturday.

The Lions scored four tries - their best return on tour - against a depleted Chiefs outfit as the tourists continued to "suffocate" everyone they meet.

Robert Kitson of the Guardian said there was something about the body language of the Lions that "boded well" for the first test.

"The Lions clearly think they are a team on the up, and winning rugby matches in New Zealand is highly addictive," he said.

"In the past week they have played 240 minutes of rugby against the Crusaders, the Maori and the off-colour Chiefs, scoring 78 points and conceding 19, with just one solitary try conceded from a fumbled kick ahead.

"Suddenly it is the home teams who cannot get out of first gear or cross the try line."

Jack Nowell scored twice as the Lions crossed the line four times, with Jared Payne and a penalty try condemning the Chiefs to a heavy defeat.

Jared Payne dashes clear to score.
PHOTOSPORT

Jared Payne dashes clear to score.

But it's England winger Elliot Daly who stood out and The Independent's Jack de Menezes pointed to a possible hint of a spot on a bench for Saturday's test against the All Blacks.

"The big winner of the day looks like Elliot Daly though, with the Wasps back taken off in the 60th minute in what looks to be a sign from Gatland that he will play some part in Saturday's match at Eden Park."

British and Irish Lions tour dates in New Zealand - June/July 2017

3 June:   NZ Barbarians v Lions - Toll Stadium, Whangarei 
7 June:   Blues v Lions -  Eden Park, Auckland 
10 June: Crusaders v Lions - AMI Stadium, Christchurch
13 June: Highlanders v Lions - Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
17 June: Māori All Blacks v Lions - Rotorua International Stadium, Rotorua
20 June: Chiefs v Lions - Waikato Stadium, Hamilton
24 June: All Blacks v Lions -  Eden Park, Auckland 
27 June: Hurricanes v Lions - Westpac Stadium, Wellington
1 July:    All Blacks v Lions - Westpac Stadium, Wellington
8 July:    All Blacks v Lions - Eden Park, Auckland

 - Stuff

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