Lawes looks in con­tention for a place against the All Blacks.

An over­haul of the sec­ond row is likely ahead of Test

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Coach War­ren Gat­land wants more phys­i­cal­ity from his Bri­tish & Ir­ish Lions in Satur­day’s sec­ond Test against New Zealand and that de­sire looks likely to in­form his se­lec­tion for a match they need to win to keep the se­ries alive.

The All Blacks for­wards won the bat­tle of the break­down in their 30-15 first Test vic­tory at Eden Park last week­end and a dis­ap­point­ing show­ing from Welsh­man Alun Wyn Jones means an over­haul of the Lions sec­ond row is likely.

Maro Itoje is ex­pected to start af­ter bring­ing his usual en­ergy when he came off the bench in Auck­land and strong per­for­mances from Court­ney Lawes and Iain Hen­der­son against the Welling­ton Hur­ri­canes added more al­ter­na­tives to the mix.

The lock­ing pair im­pressed Gat­land both in con­tact as well as with the ball in hand in the 31-31 draw with the Su­per Rugby cham­pi­ons on Tues­day, the fi­nal mid­week match of the tour. “I thought Court­ney Lawes car­ried well in the first half,” Gat­land, who names his sec­ond Test side to­day, said.

“Lock is a po­si­tion right from the start that we knew we had a lot of strength in. Those two guys had re­ally strong games ... to give us some food for thought. It will be a toss up in terms of se­lec­tion.”

Hen­der­son pos­si­bly blot­ted his copy­book when he was yel­low carded for a dan­ger­ous tackle on Jordie Bar­rett, which al­lowed the Hur­ri­canes to storm back from 31-17 down.

That ill dis­ci­pline could count against the Ul­ster­man and

War­ren Gat­land Bri­tish & Ir­ish Lions coach

Lawes com­ing off in the 54th minute could be a sign that Gat­land had seen enough to in­clude him in his sec­ond test squad.

Ge­orge Kruis or­gan­ises the line-out, which went well at Eden Park, so should re­tain his start­ing spot in the sec­ond row with Lawes pos­si­bly com­ing onto the bench and Wyn Jones drop­ping out of the match­day squad.

The loose for­ward mix is an­other area that looks ripe for an over­haul as Gat­land seeks more grunt from his pack.

The New Zealan­der, who lost his big­gest ball-car­ry­ing threat when num­ber eight Billy Vu­nipola pulled out of the tour through in­jury, en­joyed the go-for­ward the Lions got from CJ Stander and James Haskell against the Hur­ri­canes.

Bri­tish me­dia re­ports sug­gest tour cap­tain Sam War­bur­ton will start in Welling­ton af­ter com­ing off the bench for standin skip­per Peter O’Ma­hony in Auck­land.

A straight swap at blind­side flanker, with Sean O’Brien re­tained at open­side and Taulupe Fale­tau again slot­ting in at No 8, would again leave Stander dis­ap­pointed de­spite some out­stand­ing per­for­mances on tour.

With the Test se­ries on the line, Gat­land said he had been pleased with the men­tal­ity demon­strated by the first Test squad in Welling­ton as they re­grouped from the loss to a phys­i­cal All Blacks side last week­end.

“I’ve been re­ally happy with the re­sponse of those play­ers who were in­volved on Satur­day,” he said.

“[They] have been in­cred­i­bly fo­cused and real­is­ing what a big chal­lenge it is to play the All Blacks here on Satur­day night.”

I thought Court­ney Lawes car­ried well in the first half

David Rogers / Getty Im­ages

The Bri­tish & Ir­ish Lions’ Court­ney Lawes im­pressed against the Hur­ri­canes.

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