British and Irish Lions

Auckland-born Bundee Aki to debut for British and Irish Lions

The fixture, the first-ever between the Lions and Japan, has been organised to help Gatland’s team prepare for the upcoming tour of South Africa which will culminate in a three-test series against World Cup champions, the Springboks.

Auckland-born Aki, who attended Manurewa High School, moved to Ireland in 2014 to play for Connacht, and made his debut for his adopted country in 2017 under New Zealand coach Joe Schmidt.

Aki will make his debut for the Lions against the Brave Blossoms, who are coached by Kiwis Jamie Joseph and Tony Brown, at Murrayfield.

Tuilagi named in Scrum V's 36-man Lions squad

The 2013 tourist has been out of action since September, but made the squad on the BBC Scrum V Rugby podcast selected by 2009 and 2013 tourists Tommy Bowe and Adam Jones, as well as former Wales fly-half Nick Robinson and presenters Gareth Rhys Owen and Lauren Jenkins.

Bowe and Jones are best remembered for their exploits on the 2009 Lions tour in South Africa, where the Irishman was one of the standout players on the tour and the Welshman was tasked with repressing Tendai ‘The Beast’ Mtawarira. However, they both played alongside Tuilagi four years later in Australia.

Manu Tuilagi has added third string to his fitness fight after dabbling in hiking and salsa

Tuilagi has been exploring various ways of helping his recovery, including hiking and learning to salsa, but he is now concentrating on running for the first time since injuring his leg in September last year.

The severity of the Achilles injury raised serious doubts about his ability to make it back in Sale colours before the end of this season but he is now on course to play a key role in their bid for a Premiership playoff place and that would also surely put the England centre back in the Lions selection mix.

Manu Tuilagi's projected return date as England centre races to be fit for Lions

Tuilagi hasn’t played since injuring himself for Sale Sale in a match against Northampton in September. The rampaging centre has managed just 43 caps for England and a single Test for the Lions against Australia on the 2013 tour, despite winning his first international cap a decade ago in 2011, due to a career that has been ravaged by injury.

I'm done - Gatland quits British and Irish Lions

The Lions almost inflicted a series defeat on the All Black after splitting the three-game matchup 1-1 with the world champions in New Zealand in July.

Gatland oversaw a memorable Second-Test victory for the Lions, who ended New Zealand's 47-game winning streak at home.

However, New Zealander Gatland was criticised in his homeland and by his own Lions players – namely flanker Sean O'Brien – leading to his exit.

Gatland eyes series win

The blockbuster series in New Zealand will be decided by a third and final game at Eden Park on Saturday after the Lions rallied to beat the world champions 24-21 in Wellington last week.

Gatland's Lions capitalised on Sonny Bill Williams' red card in the first half as Owen Farrell kicked a late penalty to level the three-match series at 1-1.

And Gatland believes the visiting Lions have what it takes to claim a series victory over the All Blacks for the first time since 1971.

Canes hold impressive Lions

The Ireland forward had been sensational all over the field in the opening 65 minutes in Wellington and was unlucky not to be rewarded with a second-half try, but his trip to the sin bin was pivotal.

A dangerous tackle on Jordie Barrett saw him punished and the Canes took full advantage to deny the Lions – who led 23-7 at the break and by 14 points when Henderson left the field – a morale-boosting victory.

Chiefs look to play expansive game

Coach Dave Rennie says the Chiefs intend to stick to the high speed, open game they've used successfully in their Super 12 season.

But says he's well aware of the way the Lions defence strangled the attacking flair out of the Maori All Blacks in their 32-10 victory in Rotorua on Saturday.

"We like to use the ball. We try and play a high tempo, high skill game of footy and the Lions have been excellent at choking teams from doing that so we've got a few challenges ahead of us."

Donald to lead Chiefs against Lions

Donald recently achieved the 100-game milestone for the Hamilton-based side and attained cult status in the region after his penalty in the 2011 World Cup final helped the All Blacks end their 24-year drought for the Webb Ellis trophy.

The Chiefs have not been able to select any of their All Blacks as Anton Lienert-Brown, Aaron Cruden, Tawera Kerr Barlow, Sam Cane, Brodie Retallick and Nathan Harris are all in camp ahead of the first test in Auckland on June 24.

Itoje takes nothing for granted

Itoje, 22, secured the No 4 jersey ahead of vastly experienced Alun Wyn Jones for the New Zealand Maori match on Saturday, in a side Warren Gatland has always said would resemble what trots out against for the first tests against the All Blacks at Eden Park, on June 24.

But Gatland has always allowed himself wriggle room, saying he's not showing his full hand, though the side is close to his test line-up.

So Itoje is not picturing himself as a test No 4.