Lions Tour 2017: Elliot Daly poised to win over Warren Gatland ahead of First Test | Rugby Union | Sport

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With the line-up to face the All Blacks on Saturday all but set in stone it will take something special from the side picked to play in Hamilton, but the tour party’s most versatile player is out to grab his late opportunity.

“Warren has said if you play well then spots are always up for grabs. That will be in everybody’s head,” said Daly, who starts on the left wing but is equally comfortable at either centre or full-back.

“When I’ve come on I haven’t had a lot of ball, but I’ll be looking to work my way around the pitch as much as possible.

“Everybody who is in the team for this game just wants to try and express themselves and play well, but you only do that as a team, not as individuals.”

After announcing his team to face the Chiefs, Gatland name-checked the back three as one area where he is still contemplating Test selection.

Leigh Halfpenny is nailed on to start at full-back after an impressive showing against the Maori All Blacks, providing there are no after-effects from a head knock in that game. 

But with George North not yet at his best and Anthony Watson quiet in Rotorua, Gatland could still be persuaded into a change of heart on the wing.

Daly’s ability to play across the back line, plus his left-footed kicking game both from the tee and in open play, make him an ideal bench candidate.

While he started the Lions’ defeat to Auckland Blues, the Wasp has been forced to make do with brief cameos off the bench since. Gatland admits the 24-year-old had been a touch unlucky not to be involved more.

Now, the former Surrey youth cricketer has a full 80 minutes to show what he can do in attempting to help the Lions to their first midweek win on this tour in Gatland’s home town.

“We really want to win this game. Momentum is massive on tours and we want that to take us into the Test on Saturday,” said Daly.

“We’ve created line breaks and we would probably want a couple more tries, but the skill-set of the players here is unbelievable. You can see that in training.

“Without calling, stuff is happening on the hoof and that’s only getting better as we go along. We’re all geared towards the first Test.”

Lions defence coach Andy Farrell says the squad is relishing the chance to take on the best team on the planet at Eden Park, where New Zealand haven’t been beaten since 1994.

“It’s going to be one hell of a game. I know we’ll turn up and we’re a good side brimming for a big challenge. Mentally and physically we’ll be ready,” said Farrell.

“Physically I don’t think we’ve disappointed so far. Will we need to up our game? Certainly. We’re going to have to take ourselves to a place that individually we’ve not been to before.

“The All Blacks have certainly got better over the last four years and are reigning supreme at this moment in time, but the boys realise that and are excited by that challenge.

“Our squad is full of winners, it’s full of guys who are used to winning and know how to win. We’re going to be a hell of a side. We’ll go down to Auckland and there’s a sea of red there. The strength of the group is phenomenal and everything is building up.”

LIONS: Williams; Nowell, Payne, Henshaw, Daly; Biggar, Laidlaw; Marler, Best (capt), Cole, Henderson, Lawes, Haskell, Tipuric, Stander. Replacements: Dacey, Dell, Francis, Hill, Jones, Davies, Russell, Seymour.

CHIEFS: Stevenson; Pulu, Nanai-Williams, Faauli, Alaimalo; Donald (capt), Christie; Sanders, Boshier, Brown, Allardice, Bird, Laulala, Polwort, Fisi’ihoi. Replacements: Elliot, Ross, Moli, Messam, Karpik, Taumateine, Laulala, Tiatia.

Kick-off: 8.35am.

TV: Sky Sports 1.