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Bryn Gatland will face his father Warren's British and Irish Lions side after being named to start at flyhalf for the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians in the tour opener in Whangarei on Saturday.

The first test is on June 24 at Eden Park, the second on July 1 in Wellington before the tour wraps up with the third test back in Auckland a week later.

Before the last tour questions were raised about the place of the Lions in the professional game after successive series defeats by Australia, New Zealand and South Africa between 2001 and 2009.

"The Maori game is pretty important for us, isn't it?"

The Lions' front row had, in any case, set the tone by boring in at scrum-time in the previous tour match, said Wyllie, prompting his Canterbury team mates to resolve to stamp it out in Christchurch.

"It's been part of my job over the past few weeks just prepping the guys about what to expect culturally when you arrive in New Zealand", he said.

British & Irish Lions captain Sam Warburton has defended his side's tour schedule after criticism from New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen.

Three more 2013 tourists have been included on the bench.

"So that's very much what I'll be doing".

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"The advantage of the team we have selected is that the players were together in the first week in Wales", Gatland said on Thursday.

He said the Lions priority was to win, particularly the Test series, and he was unconcerned what style of play they adopted to get results.

The All Blacks" disinterest in their opponents is nothing new, nor does it appear to harm their preparation - Brodie Retallick called Courtney Lawes "Michael' when challenged to name an England player in 2014, but New Zealand still won that Test series.

"So he'll use his knowledge and experience to help the team, so if we've any questions we can ask him".

It will certainly be a tough task for the Lions but, as Ric Flair once said, if you want to be the man, you've got to beat the man.

Gatland's son Bryn, 22, is expected to start at inside centre for the Barbarians and could also turn out for the Blues next week.

The book is structured as a chronological account of the tour, presented nearly as a round-table conversation, so that players of both sides debate who threw the first punch in the battle of X, or whether the sustained by Y and Z were the result of planned thuggery or the outcome of legitimate rucking.

"The last Lions Series in 2005 was hugely successful, attracting more than 20,000 worldwide visitors staying more than 431,000 nights in total".

"We only had three one hour practice sessions but I was really impressed with the standard and the effort they all put in".


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