Lions vs Chiefs LIVE: Nowell scores twice and Payne adds a fourth
The Lions finally cut loose in the final warm up game of the tour as several players give Gatland food for thought
FULL TIME: Lions 34 Chiefs 6The midweek Lions recorded their first win of the tour and finally showed some try-scoring potential as they beat an under-strength Chiefs side by 28 points in Hamilton.
In the final game before the Test series against New Zealand players including Jack Nowell, Liam Williams and Dan Cole put in big performances to give coach Warren Gatland plenty to think about.
Once again the Lions game plan was based around forward dominance and intensity in defence, and the side delivered on both. But there was also intent in the backline, with Nowell scoring twice and Payne also touching down after a wonderful break from Williams. The forwards also had their say earning a crucial penalty try early in the second half.
The game was tight at half time with the Lions only leading by seven. That score came from Nowell who sneaked through from close range in the first period. In the second half the penalty try gave them breathing space and as the second-string Chiefs, shorn of their All Blacks, tired the Lions found more space in which to counter attack.
In truth the Chiefs were poor. Their set piece, particularly the lineout, was dire and although their runners were willing they were unable to penetrate the Lions line. The performance of Nanai Williams could be of interest, however. He played against the All Blacks for Samoa last week and made several line breaks against the New Zealand side before they overwhelmed the Pacific Islanders. Against the Lions he made little impact until the final seconds of the game when he broke from his own goal-line.
The Lions though did what they needed to and Gatland must now consider his options before naming his squad for the first Test on Wednesday evening, UK time.
80 mins: Game over!The Chiefs won't lie down as 80 minutes comes round. They have the ball and keep running at the Lions. But it's stolen by Dan Cole of all people and Liam Williams kicks to touch. Game over and the Lions have won convincingly.
78 mins: Time running downThe game is rather petering out as the Chiefs try, and fail, to make inroads into the Lions defence in their own half. The Lions will be determined not to concede a try and as soon as the Chiefs make any ground they are turned over and the Lions clear.
76 mins: The other Williams attacksThe other Williams, Nanai of the Chiefs, shows off some magic on his own tryline, and slips through the Lions defence and charges up field. He is eventually hauled down on the 22, but that was magical.
Worth noting that Nanai has played this whole game and has been pretty anonymous. When he played for Samoa against the All Blacks last week he made a number of line breaks. That could indicate the strength of the Lions defence.
74 mins: Payne painAnother scything move from the Lions comes to nothing. First Williams cuts through the Chiefs defence like a knife through butter. He feeds Seymour who takes a wonderful angle. He doesn't have the gas to make the try line and passes to Payne, but it is a horrible pass and Payne can't pick it off his laces with the tryline at his mercy.
Another great counter attack from Williams who has burst into life all of a sudden.
71 mins: Lions keep comingInto the last ten minutes but the Lions continue to push forward. There are stakes to be claimed here, if not for the first Test then maybe the second and third.
Justin Tipuric looks keen to show off his skills in the loose.
68 mins: Defence!The Lions may have this game in the bag but the defence remains huge as they stop runner after runner on the 22 yard line. They get the ball back from a knock on and Dan Cole is down after what looked like a high tackle from Brown, who has already been sinbinned in this match.
The Lions pack is dominant now and they march a scrum out of their 22 and win a penalty.
64 mins: TRY! Payne scores - Lions 34 Chief 6The flood gates are opening now. Nowell is involved again in another great try as he collects a kick and feeds Williams who carves his way through the defence. He almost makes it to the line but as he is hauled down pops it off to Payne who touches down.
That was a brilliant counter attack. This is more like it! Could be bad news for George North, though.
Biggar adds the extras once again.
59 mins: TRY! Nowell again - Lions 27 Chiefs 6Finally the Lions fans get what they want, a brilliant end to end move from the Lions that starts with a break by Williams and Daly down the left. Daly offloads brilliantly to keep the ball alive and as it is recycled the Lions are lining up on the right.
Nowell get the ball on the right with men outside him but cuts back and touches down. Great try, great offloading and great team play involved in that. Nowell could be back into the Test side here. However, Daly is the man to come off - has Gatland decided to wrap the other winger in cottonwool?
No surprises for guessing how the move started, by the way - a stolen Chiefs lineout.
58 mins: Lawes returnsGood news for the Lions, Lawes is fit to return and Jones comes off after a five minute cameo including a try.
54 mins: PENALTY TRY! Lions 20 Chiefs 6Lions win the lineout and the maul rolls over the line. Henderson is held up but its a penalty try and a yellow card for Brown of the Chiefs.
That makes the referee the top try scorer for the Lions on this tour!
52 mins: PenaltyChiefs flanker Brown is penalised at the ruck but of more concern for the Lions is the sight of Lawes leaving the field for a head injury assessment for the second game running. Alun-Wyn Jones is on. It would be a real problem if he gets hurt.
Jones isn't on the field for more than a minute or two before he is involved in some handbags as the two packs prepare for a Lions lineout on the Chiefs five metre line.
50 mins: Chiefs unhappyThe Chiefs skipper is unhappy about the number of times the Lions are readjusting as they present the ball backwards in the ruck. It's undermining the Chiefs counter ruck he seems to be suggesting and stopping them from getting turnovers.
47 mins: PhasesThe Lions are into double figures in phases again but the move breaks down and the Chiefs have the ball in broken field. Danger!
This is not how the Lions want to play. They get it back in their own half but they are all over the place in open play. Finally Biggar boots clear and they can regroup.
That was a perfect example of the different cultures. The Lions were loving the short gain phases before the Chiefs broke free.
44 mins: BlockingHere we go! The Lions win a penalty for blocking, and after all the talk this week that could be significant. Nowell was clearly blocked off by Fa'auli as he chased a kick.
43 mins: Chiefs desperateThe Chiefs definitely want to run at the Lions and they start the half by throwing it deep to give the runners time to build up a head of steam. Tiatia is held up however and a wide pass then sails out of play. They are desperate to get it wide, but the Lions are just too tight.
Second half underwayDonald kicks off and Stander collects. Can the midweek team hold onto a lead for the first time this tour? It's not a great start as the first Lions' lineout is penalised for a crooked throw.
HALF TIME: Lions 13 Chiefs 6
A powerful first half from the midweek Lions suggested that Warren Gatland's plans are coming together in time for the first Test against the All Blacks on Saturday.
Against an admittedly weakened Chiefs side the Lions pack was dominant, while there was plenty of adventure in the three quarters. However, the tourists' troubles with try scoring continued. Jack Nowell did touch down after an excellent move for the decisive score of the game, but there was little to suggest that there would be many more to come, despite some nice moves.
Joe Marler was earlier yellow carded for a shoulder barge and Dan Biggar was also penalised for a high arm, but escaped the sinbin.
English wingers Elliot Daly and Nowell both looked lively as did lock Courtney Lawes. CJ Stander and Robbie Henshaw both made good contributions and once again the Lions defence was huge, nullifying the dangerous backline runners of the home team.
40 mins: Wake up call!The Lions were back in the changing room there as Christie breaks the line from that rarest of things, a lineout won by the Chiefs. The tourists are forced into conceding a penalty to slow down the attack and Donald slots the three points to bring the half to an end.
36 mins: High tackleThe Chiefs win the scrum, and as the back row breaks Biggar comes in with a swinging arm and takes him round the neck. Penalty to the Chiefs and Biggar might be a bit lucky not to see yellow there.
The Chiefs are back under pressure from another lineout, the Lions get the ball back but Williams is penalised for holding on. Half time is nearly here.
34 mins: Into the cornerBiggar flattens Donald and the Lions then win a penalty. This time they take a leaf out of the local playbook and go for the corner. Why not. Their lineout has been so superior.
They win the ball and the Lions maul rolls towards the try line but goes down short and the Chiefs win the put-in.
30 mins: No offloadThe one thing the Lions don't have is the offloading ability of the New Zealand teams, and Haskell tried to pop a pass to Laidlaw but couldn't. Eventuially the move breaks down as Williams, understandably, fumbles a long hospital pass on the wing with the Chiefs defence up in his face.
29 mins: Daly on the insideMore creativity from the Lions as Daly appears in a channel inside Biggar and collects a reverse pass. But he can't hold it. It's encouraging three-quarter play from the tourists though. Gatland is starting to show his hand here.
But the Lions' chief weapon remains their forward power, but this is pretty encouraging stuff on all fronts.
25 mins: TRY! Jack Nowell - Lions 13 Chiefs 3The Lions pull out some sweet moves from the back of the scrum. Williams and Nowell do brilliantly down the right and then the forwards pile forward.
Biggar almost goes over and then Nowell leaps over the ruck to dab down. Great try!
Biggar adds the conversion. Is Nowell back in contention for a Test place again?
24 mins: Henshaw into touchThere is lots of ambition in the Lions backline but it's still not quite coming off, and a Henshaw kick through goes into touch. But the Chiefs' lineout is terrible tonight and they lose another one.
22 mins: Marler backThe chiefs knock on at their own 22, then Lawes knocks on himself as the Lions attack, before yet another spill by Christie.
Marler and Haskell are back on after Marler's time in the sinbin comes to an end.
20 mins: Lions 6 Chiefs 3Laidlaw's kick from the restart is charged down and the Chiefs go again. But once again the Lions line is strong and Williams shows bravery as Donald slides a grubber kick through.
The Chiefs win a penalty in front of the posts for hands in the ruck, and this time they go for the kick. Chiefs scrum half Christie gets a talking to from the referee for some verbals. But Donald slots the kick.
18 mins: Lions 6 Chiefs 0No mistake from Biggar who makes it 6-0 to the Lions.
16 mins: Daly breaksThe Lions winger is released down the left but is unceremoniously dumped into touch by Alaimalo. That's his second good run of the game, and both wingers are looking for the ball.
The Lions win another Chiefs lineout and then win a penalty. They, unlike the New Zealand side, kick for goal.
15 mins: Great scrumJared Payne joins the scrum to replace Haskell and they send the Chiefs wheeling backwards. Penalty for the Lions and what a moment for Dell and Payne!
13 mins: Great maulCJ Stander does some great work in the maul as the Chiefs efforts to push for the try line are ended by the Lions pack. The Lions win the scrum. James Haskell makes way for a replacement prop. Dell is the man on, making his Lions debut.
Dangerous winger Pulu is also off for the Chiefs, he was hurt making that break.
12 mins: Yellow card Joe MarlerHere come the Chiefs, as winger Pulu breaks the line but is hauled down by a brilliant tap tackle from Courtney Lawes. But the referee calls it back for a late tackle on Marler - and that does not look pretty.
The Lions prop puts a shoulder through Laulala, who was not looking when he was hit. It's a yellow cars and it was deserved unfortunately. The Chiefs have a very kickable penalty.
But this is New Zealand the the Chiefs go to the corner.
10 mins: Lions 3 Chiefs 0Biggar makes no mistake from in front of the posts and the Lions lead.
9 mins: Phase playThere is some good work from both wingers on the right. Daly breaks and then Nowell does the same down the flank. But so far the Chiefs defence is up to the challenge. Finally the Lions go wide to the left wing and Nowell is closed down as he pushes for the line.
The Lions are in the 19th phase when Liam Williams finally drops the ball. But there is a penalty coming and that should be three points in front of the posts.
Good work from Tipuric in the tight as he holds up his man in the tackle, forms a maul and the Lions win possession.
3 mins:Courtney Lawes steals the lineout. Biggar puts a big clearing kick in and the Lions are back up to halfway.
2 mins:A good start for the Lions with Daly chasing Biggar's kick. But the first real chance falls to the Chiefs as Donald kicks to the corner after Henshaw takes a man out in the air. The Chiefs have a lineout ten metres from the Lions' line.
The challenge has been laid down by the Chiefs and Dan Biggar gets proceedings underway
The British and Irish Lions face their final opponents before the Test series against the All Blacks begins as they take on the Waikato Chiefs in Hamilton.
Coach Warren Gatland insists that the players are all in with a shout of making the Test side, even though this game comes just four days before big one.
"A win is the most important thing for this team tonight," he says. "We haven't really spoken about Test selection yet. A great individual performance from anyone could get them a start or in the 23."
Whether that applies to some of the controversial replacements flown in by Gatland for this match we will soon find out.
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.