All Blacks name 3 Barrett brothers for Samoa test

All Blacks eye Samoa 'battle' to fine-tune for Lions

The British and Irish Lions could be without two key players for next week's first Test against New Zealand after injury sidelined Owen Farrell and head coach Warren Gatland hinted at omitting Sam Warburton.

O'Mahony is now happily ensconced in the Lions set-up and his first start against the Crusaders last weekend couldn't have gone much better as he stole a lineout, offered nice handling skills and thundered into contact when required.

Only Jamie Heaslip's back injury allowed him the opportunity to shine and now he is on the cusp of Test selection in New Zealand as part of a back-row that has caught Warren Gatland's eye.

"Peter is a proven captain with Munster who never takes a backward step and we believe that those leadership qualities will serve us well on Saturday against a quality and determined Maori All Blacks team".

"They're a very good rugby team and on their day they can cause and upset so we don't want to be the upset", Hansen said.

The match is being played on a Friday, a rarity for a rugby worldwide, to avoid a clash with the Lions match against the New Zealand Maori in Rotorua on Saturday.

"I will battle for the No 8, but I think they [the Turbos coaches] see me as a No 6".

Wales? They happen to have a full squad in New Zealand and are playing Tonga this weekend.




All Blacks coach Steve Hansen believes his side couldn't have prepared any better for the start of their global season.

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Lima Sopoaga and Waisake Naholo were released to play for the Highlanders in their narrow 23-22 win over the Lions on Tuesday and it is doubtful they would be asked to perform again three days later.

"I think he is about to bring a few extra players out to give himself the ability to play two squads", Hansen said. In Read's absence, full-back Ben Smith captains the All Blacks for their one and only warm-up match against the Pacific Islanders, while Sonny Bill Williams makes his first appearance for the All Blacks since the 2015 Rugby World Cup final after proving his fitness in the Blues' victory over the Lions.

Flyhalf Beauden will play his 50th test while utility back Jordie is set to make his debut from the bench, where he has been named beside lock Scott.

Hansen said: "There might well be some things kept back, but the basics of their game isn't going to change".

The Saracens star had been due to start on the bench, with Jonathan Sexton wearing No10, and the Irishman could keep the shirt for the first Test if Farrell struggles to recover in time.

"Dane Coles is getting better and he is able to tolerate more training at a higher level, which is a sign he is starting to come right".

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