Lions tour: Lions eye slice of New Zealand rugby history

  • 05/07/2017

The British and Irish Lions insist Liam Williams missed training for precautionary reasons and will be fit to face the All Blacks in the third Test.

Assistant coach Neil Jenkins said exciting Welshman Williams had some "tightness" in his leg but will be available to play Saturday's decider at Eden Park.

The 26-year-old set up one of the great Lions tries in the 30-15 first Test loss, underling what a dangerous counter-attacking runner he can be.

He was less conspicuous in the wet second Test in Wellington, which the tourists won 24-21.

Jenkins was unconcerned that Williams sat out their last training session in Queenstown on Wednesday, soon before they flew out to Auckland.

"He's just a little bit tight, but he'll be fine," said Jenkins.

"It's probably precautionary, just a little bit of tightness."

If he was deemed unfit, the Lions would probably turn to another Welshman, the accomplished Leigh Halfpenny, to start at fullback.

Another option would be to shift Anthony Watson back to No.15 and introduce fellow-Englishman Jack Nowell on the right wing.

Both teams are scheduled to be announced on Thursday morning, with neither expected to alter their starting pack or halves.

The All Blacks must make at least one change, with second five-eighth Sonny Bill Williams suspended following his red card offence in Wellington.

Coach Steve Hansen may start with the combination which finished that Test, including debutant Ngani Laumape at second five-eighth.

Or he may reunite the regular midfield starting combination of 2016 by shifting Anton Lienert-Brown in one spot and handing No.13 to Malakai Fekitoa, who was called into the squad on Sunday.

Doubt still surrounds the fitness of winger Waisake Naholo (head), meaning a possible recall for Julian Savea, with Rieko Ioane shifting to the right wing.

Another solution to Naholo's absence would be moving fullback Israel Dagg out wide and handing a second cap at fullback to Jordie Barrett.

In that scenario, 20-year-old Barrett might even take over the goalkicking from older brother Beauden, who was a mixed bag in Wellington, missing three relatively simple shots.

NZN