|Chiefs v British and Irish Lions|
|Venue: FMG Stadium Waikato, Hamilton Date: Tuesday, 20 June Kick-off: 08:35 BST|
|Coverage: Live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and app|
On the surface, this is the game no-one wants to play in.
The bulk of those involved against the Chiefs will not feature in the first Test against New Zealand on Saturday.
However, Lions head coach Warren Gatland insists there is still an opportunity for individuals to force their way into the reckoning.
And although the focus is on the All Blacks this weekend, a win in Hamilton would give the squad a significant lift before the main event.
- ‘Mischief personified’ and ‘loyal to the end’ – the making of Lions coach Gatland
- Rugby Union Weekly podcast: Devaluing the Lions?
As expected, all six of the controversial call-ups are among the replacements as Gatland looks to protect as many of the Test 23 as possible.
Elliot Daly and Liam Williams both start in the backline as they bid to sneak into the Test plans, with Daly well placed.
Tour captain Sam Warburton isn’t involved – which points to him facing the All Blacks – while Jonathan Joseph is another name conspicuous by its absence.
The Chiefs will be led by former Bath fly-half Stephen Donald – a World Cup winner with New Zealand in 2011. The news of Donald’s recent engagement was broken by Lions boss Gatland in his pre-match news conference.
Chiefs flanker Liam Messam gave his reaction to his team-mate’s news: “It’s about time he grew up.”
Unlike the Saturday side, the Lions midweek team has flattered to deceive so far, beaten by the Blues and the Highlanders, and plenty of players on show in Hamilton will be desperate to do themselves justice for the first time on tour.
With the Test series looming, both Gatland and the players insist the group is not about to split in half and a victory on Tuesday would go a long way to ensuring this remains the case.
The Chiefs won the Super Rugby title in 2012 and 2013 – and are coached by the highly rated Glasgow-bound Dave Rennie – but are heavily denuded by All Blacks and Maori selection.
It’s time for the Lions midweek team to deliver.
What they say:
Lions head coach Warren Gatland: “Those involved on Tuesday will be playing not only for themselves in terms of further selection but also for the whole squad.”
“We’re reasonably aligned.” Chiefs boss Dave Rennie has beendiscussing team selection with a 10-year-old supporter, Sam.
“It’s about time he grew up,” said Chiefs flanker Liam Messam reacting to team-mate Stephen Donald’s engagement.
What do the locals say?
“Rather than disparage, let’s embrace this battle of wills and contrast in styles. Roll on Eden Park.” Kiwi broadcaster Tony Johnson on Sky’s Rugby Nation relishing the upcoming Test series.
“I suppose I’ve created an atmosphere where I’m a friend first and a boss second. Probably an entertainer third.” Lions flanker @jameshask channels his inner David Brent.
Lions: L Williams (Wales); J Nowell (England), J Payne (Ireland), R Henshaw (Ireland), E Daly (England); D Biggar (Wales), G Laidlaw (Scotland); J Marler (England), R Best (Ireland), D Cole (England), I Henderson (Ireland), C Lawes (England), J Haskell (England), J Tipuric (Wales), C Stander (Ireland).
K Dacey (Wales), A Dell (Scotland), T Francis (Wales), C Hill (Wales), AW Jones (Wales), G Davies (Wales), F Russell (Scotland), T Seymour (Scotland).
Chiefs: S Stevenson; T Pulu, T Nanai-Williams, J Fa’auli, S Alaimalo; S Donald (capt), F Christie, S Fisiihoi, L Polwart, N Laulala, D Bird, M Allardice, M Brown, L Boshier, T Sanders.
Replacements: H Elliot, A Ross, A Moli, L Messam, M Karpik, J Taumateine, L Laulala, C Tiatia.
|3 June||Provincial Barbarians||Won 13-7|
|7 June||Blues||Lost 22-16|
|10 June||Crusaders||Won 12-3|
|13 June||Highlanders||Lost 23-22|
|17 June||Maori All Blacks||Won 32-10|
|24 June||New Zealand|
|1 July||New Zealand|
|8 July||New Zealand|
Published at Mon, 19 Jun 2017 10:29:11 +0000
Celtic will play Northern Irish champions Linfield or San Marino’s SP La Fiorita in the second qualifying round of the Champions League.
Belfast’s Linfield and SP La Fiorita will play in the first qualifying round with the winners taking on Brendan Rodgers’ treble winners, who were seeded in the draw in Nyon.
Celtic will play away from home first.
Also entering in the first round are Welsh side The New Saints, who will play Gibraltar’s Europa.
Celtic were seeded in Group Three, along with Poland’s Legia Warsaw, Maribor of Slovenia, Swedish outfit Malmo, Rosenborg of Norway and Iceland’s Hafnarfjordur.
The first qualifying round first-leg ties will be on 27 or 28 June with the return legs on 4 or 5 July. The dates for the second qualifying round ties are 11/12 July and 18/19 July.
Last season, Celtic came through the second and third qualifying rounds, and then the play-off round, to reach the group stage, finishing bottom of their section.
|Lowdown on Linfield|
|Founded in 1886 and play at Belfast’s Windsor Park. Linfield have never been relegated and have been champions 52 times, the second highest tally of national top-flight titles in world football|
|Never progressed beyond the second qualifying round of the expanded Champions League|
|Managed by former Manchester United and Rangers striker David Healy, Northern Ireland’s all-time leading scorer|
|Former Rangers players Roy Carroll and Andrew Mitchell are members of the current squad|
|Last season’s title win was the club’s first in five years, and last season they were knocked out of the Europa League first qualifying round by Cork City|
|S.P. La Fiorita|
|Founded in 1967 and play in Girone A, the top-flight of San Marino league football. They have won the division four times and are currently managed by Nicola Berardi|
|Played in first qualifying round of the Champions League once before, in 2014-15 – losing 8-0 on aggregate to Levadia Tallinn of Estonia.|
|In five European ties, they have scored one goal and conceded 35|
|Top scorer last season was the Italian Marco Martini, who scored 27 goals in 26 appearances.|
Champions League first qualifying round
Vikingur (Faroe Isles) v Trepca ’89 (Kosovo)
Hibernians (Malta) v Tallinn (Estonia)
Alashkert (Armenia) v Santa Coloma (Andorra)
The New Saints v Europa (Gibraltar)
Linfield v SP La Fiorita (San Marino)
Champions League second qualifying round
Apoel (Cyprus) v Dudelange (Luxembourg)
Zalgiris (Lithuania) v Ludogorets Razgrad (Bulgaria)
Qarabag (Azerbaijan) v Samtredia (Georgia)
Partizan (Serbia) v Budućnost Podgorica (Montenegro)
Hibernians (Malta) or FCI Tallinn (Estonia) v Salzburg (Austria)
Sheriff (Moldova) v Kukes (Albania)
Astana (Kazakhstan) v Spartaks Jurmala (Latvia)
BATE Borisov (Belarus) v Alashkert (Armenia) or FC Santa Coloma (Andorra)
Zilina (Slovakia) v Copenhagen (Denamrk)
Hapoel Beer-Sheva (Israel) v Budapest Honvéd (Hungary)
Rijeka (Croatia) v The New Saints or Europa (Gibraltar)
Malmo (Sweden) v Vardar (Macedonia)
Zrinjski (Bosnia and Herzegovina) v Maribor (Slovenia)
Dundalk (Ireland) v Rosenborg (Norway)
FH Hafnarfjördur (Iceland) v Víkingur (Faroe Islands) or Trepça ’89 (Kosovo)
Linfield or SP La Fiorita (San Marino) v Celtic
IFK Mariehamn (Finland) v Legia Warszawa (Poland)
Published at Mon, 19 Jun 2017 10:39:15 +0000