Published: Mon, June 19, 2017
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

Poor result for British & Irish Lions who lose to The Blues

Poor result for British & Irish Lions who lose to The Blues

But whatever the reasons behind his breach, the fact that he won't get a chance to play in this unique match, and stamp his own name in history, will be hugely disappointing to himself and Umaga.

But despite some improvements across the board, head coach Warren Gatland knows his side will need to come on again before locking horns with the Crusaders on Saturday - where the likes of Northampton's George North and Saracens' Owen Farrell will likely make their first starts of the tour.

Robertson was an interested observer when the fifth-ranked New Zealand Super Rugby franchise, the Blues, snuck past the Lions 22-16 in Auckland on Wednesday.

"We're still working on our foundations, on some principles of the way we want to play".

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The Crusaders always loomed as the toughest opponents of the opening 10 days and Gatland has chose to field what appears to be the strongest Lions side yet in a bid avoid what would be a dispiriting second defeat so early on the tour. "That's all I can say having been part of the Lions for what is now my third tour".

Alun Wyn Jones will captain the team in a much changed line-up.

Some commentators have called on Gatland to abandon his rotational plans and to name his test side early, to prevent a loss to the Crusaders which might further undermine confidence of his players ahead of the three-test series against the world champion All Blacks. "We were coming here to get another victory but unfortunately we got a defeat".

"It was a moment of magic that won the game tonight, but we've got to be better at stopping that offloading game".

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But a brilliant late try from Ihaia West secured victory for the Auckland side, the replacement fly-half latched onto Sonny Bill Williams's superb offload to scorch under the posts from halfway.

Robertson said: "This is a huge and exciting challenge for us". Will they be good enough to beat the Crusaders at AMI Stadium in a match described already as the unofficial fourth test? They certainly have found something after three incredible comebacks in their first four matches, and one for the ages against the Highlanders in Christchurch last weekend.

The Lions forwards were dominant against the Blues but will face an All Blacks tight five against the Crusaders comprising Joe Moody, Owen Franks, Codie Taylor and locks Sam Whitelock and Luke Romano. Replacements: K Owens (Wales), J McGrath (Ireland), D Cole, M Itoje (both England), CJ Stander (Ireland), R Webb (Wales), J Sexton (Ireland), A Watson (England).

Robertson said that Saturday's match with the Lions will be a special moment in his players' professional careers, and that while the Lions have some of the best global players in world rugby, the Crusaders also have their own collection of world beaters.

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