British and Irish Lions 2017: Andy Farrell wary of defence penalties

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Warren Gatland (left) and Andy Farrell hope fly-half Owen Farrell will be fit for the first Test against New Zealand
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

British and Irish Lions assistant coach Andy Farrell is wary of his side being harshly penalised in defence in the Test series against New Zealand.

The quick rush defence of the Lions has been a feature of the tour.

Farrell believes they were unfairly caught offside against the Highlanders last Tuesday, and expects the officials to review the tour matches before the series opener in Auckland on Saturday.

“I’ve been looking for the offside, and I’m still looking for it now,” he said.

“It’s up to us to show a good picture, but it’s hard when everyone is going together.

“We have good referees going forward. I am sure they will review the games like we will.

“But I think it’s pretty obvious we want to bring some line-speed to the game.”

The Lions play the Chiefs in Hamilton on Tuesday before starting the three-Test series against the All Blacks this weekend.

They have played five matches on the tour so far, beating the Maori All Blacks 32-10 last Saturday, four days after a 23-22 defeat by the Highlanders.

Flanker James Haskell says intensity in defence is a hallmark of sides coached by coach Warren Gatland and Farrell.

“It’s almost using defence as an attacking weapon in itself,” said Haskell, who starts for the Lions against the Chiefs on Tuesday.

“The guys the other night [against the Maori All Blacks] took the defence on tour to a new level, but you have to go to another level again to deal with the All Blacks.”

And Farrell thinks the Lions are ready to meet the challenge of New Zealand, who have won the last two World Cups.

“The All Blacks are the best team in the world,” Farrell added. “They’re an unbelievable side. But our squad is full of winners. It’s full of guys who are used to winning and know how to win.

“They’re in a new side that’s been developing over the last four weeks. And I think we’re going to be a hell of a side.

“We play this game on Tuesday, hopefully we’ll get the result we’re after and show improvement again.

“Then we’ll go down to Auckland, there’s a sea of red there. Everything builds up. The strength of the collective group is going to be phenomenal. Let’s see what we can bring when we bring a togetherness.”



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