British and Irish Lions assistant coach Andy Farrell has urged his tourists to continue their momentum against the Chiefs on Tuesday, insisting they will unleash “a hell of a side” against New Zealand.
The Lions face the Chiefs, who were crowned Super Rugby champions in 2012 and 2013, in Hamilton this morning in their final tour match before Saturday's first Test.
Victory would hand the Lions their fourth win since touching down in New Zealand, and Farrell believes his squad are on course to compete for a first series success against the world champions since 1971.
“The All Blacks are the best team in the world,” said Farrell. “They’re an unbelievable side, but our squad is full of winners. It’s full of guys who are used to winning and know how to win.
“They’re in a new side that’s been developing over the last four weeks. And I think we’re going to be a hell of a side. We play this game on Tuesday, hopefully we’ll get the result we’re after and show improvement again.
“Then we’ll go down to Auckland [for the first Test], there’s a sea of red there. Everything builds up. The strength of the collective group is going to be phenomenal. Let’s see what we can bring when we bring a togetherness.”
Flanker James Haskell, meanwhile, who is set to start against the Chiefs, has dismissed suggestions that head coach Warren Gatland’s six controversial call-ups have eroded harmony in the camp.
The decision to draft Welshmen Tomas Francis, Kristian Dacey, Cory Hill and Gareth Davies, as well as Scotland duo Allan Dell and Finn Russell, into the squad has been widely criticised. New Zealand boss Steve Hansen claimed it had caused a “split”.
“When the ball is rolling and you are in the mix, you don’t really worry too much about those kind of things,” said Haskell. “You have got team-mates on board who are buying into what the Lions is about.
“When they are asked to train, they train as hard as they can and when asked to make account of themselves and deliver a performance they do that. That’s what really matters.
“The politics of situations like that, being a professional player, you can put your head down and just crack on with the job. Life is way too short to be worrying about other things and stuff like that.”