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Warren Gatland Ready For The Most Important Match Of 2017

Warren Gatland makes no changes from last week’s squad

This Saturday’s match will be an absolutely legendary encounter. No one expected the series to go to a third match to be decided. Warren Gatland and the British and Irish Lions did just that. Their performance against the All Blacks last week was enough to topple the giants of rugby. While there is still work to be done, Gatland has enough faith in his team to make no changes to the 23-man squad that took down the All Blacks last week. Although the Lions were helped along by the Sonny Bill Williams red card, Gatland has confidence that his 23 can win the series.

Warren Gatland will be working through a tall order for his Lions on Saturday. No team since South Africa in 2009 have beaten the All Blacks in back to back matches. With SBW having been suspended, Ngani Laumape will be filling the role he did last week after Williams was sent off. There are a number of other changes to the All Blacks backs for the upcoming match. Jordie Barrett, the youngest of the Barrett clan will be making his first start for the All Blacks on the biggest of stages. He will play at full back, moving Israel Dagg to wing. The ever dangerous Julian Savea will also be making his first start of the tour.

The plight of the Scottish

The 21st century has been very difficult for Scotland on the British and Irish Lions tour. Not a single Scottish player has started a test match for the Lions since 2001. The only contributions in those years have been as late replacements in dead rubber tests. This year was the biggest offense of all. Gatland initially selected the fewest Scots since 1908. This year was also the first time since 1908 that no Scot has been named to a test squad during the entire series.

This problem was helped along by the early exit of Stuart Hogg. Hogg was what many believed to be the nailed-on full back for the Lions’ test matches. That was until he ran into Conor Murray’s elbow during the Crusaders match early in the tour. That friendly collision resulted in a broken bone in Hogg’s face making an early end to his tour.

It is unfortunate that Warren Gatland refuses to recognize the abilities of Tommy Seymour. Seymour is the try scoring leader of the tour and has not even been named to the bench for a test match. Seymour’s abilities are amazing and he has performed in great fashion in his time with Scotland and Glasgow. He is a true talent and it seems a waste that his skills have not been put to better use.

The final moment of a great tour

In all the months of waiting the entire series comes down to this final match. The pieces have been put in place. This is the most important match of the year. The most exciting match of the entire decade. It will truly be a match for the record books. No fan of rugby will want to miss this match.

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David Bradham

Active duty Navy, have a true passion for Rugby.
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