The real British and Irish Lions stood up, says Taulupe Faletau

The win by Warren Gatland's men allowed them to avoid becoming the first Lions side since 1908 to lose the first two of their three matches and they will depart for Dunedin and their match against the Highlanders on Tuesday with a vastly improved self belief.

Asked what he thought New Zealand would have made of the performance, Gatland replied: "I'm not really anxious about them at the moment".

Farrell said afterwards: "I thought we were aggressive". They may be unbeaten in 14 Super Rugby matches this season but any comparison with the world champion All Blacks is overstated.

One of the positives of the game was the Lions defence, the line speed was fast and drifting was also good and countered the Crusaders attack. "But to be arriving on the Wednesday and playing on the Saturday is just too tough, we wouldn't do it".

This victory was an eloquent rebuttal of accusations that the Lions would descend into a spiral of defeats in tracing a line from last week's disappointing loss to the Blues through to the Test series.

The Lions' backline resources were further stretched when Jonathan Davies was led away for a head injury assessment, with neither player able to resume.

Hansen said his decision to select Coles was down to "semantics", with the all-action hooker unlikely to feature in the Test series as he continues to struggle with concussion.

Uncapped fullback Jordie Barrett, flyhalf Beauden Barrett and lock Scott Barrett became the first trio of brothers to be named in the same All Blacks squad.

The All Blacks are so awash with backline talent that Malakai Fekitoa and Nehe Milner-Skudder didn't even make the squad.

"That was the real Lions out there; we've worked hard for each other and we've got the rewards", said Faletau. "There are still bits to work on, there always will be, but it was a huge improvement from the last game".

"We talk about the set-pieces as physical statements as forwards coaches, winning those little battles in the war of a game".

"We knew that. New Zealand players never back down from a challenge, so we knew it would be tough".

Hansen, however, believes Gatland's team will be primed for the three Tests.

"That's rugby, he won't be the only person who doesn't train fully in the next five days".

Both Te'o and Davies will hope half backs Conor Murray and Owen Farrell can give them front foot ball.

"I think Samoa is probably right out of the question, then it's just going to be how it responds".

"We won't be foolish enough to rock up and think we can just expect a soft game". The opportunity we have on Saturday is to get momentum back into this tour.

CRUASADERS - I Dagg; S Tamanivalu, J Goodhue, D Havili, G Bridge (T Bateman 66); R Mounga (M Hunt 75), B Hall (M Drummond 62); J Moody (W Crockett 51), C Taylor (B Funnell 51), O Franks (M Alaalatoa 51); L Romano (Q odd 56), S Whitelock (capt); H Bedwell-Curtis (J Brown 62), M Todd, J Taufua.

Latest News