After suffering a dispiriting 30-15 defeat in Auckland, the wounded British and Irish Lions head to Wellington's Westpac Stadium - AKA 'The Cake Tin' - this weekend for a crunch second Test against New Zealand.

The tourists know they must defeat the formidable All Blacks in order to force an Eden Park decider and keep their hopes of only a second ever series triumph in the land of the long white cloud alive.

Where to watch

The first Test gets underway at 19.35 NZST (08.35 BST) on Saturday (1 July). Live television coverage is available on Sky Sports 1 HD, beginning just over an hour before kick-off.

Radio commentary in the United Kingdom comes via talkSPORT and talKSPORT 2, while the BBC will also be providing updates via their website and app.


The build-up to the second Test has been dominated by another media spat and bout of mind games between the respective head coaches, with Steve Hansen calling a radio station of his own volition to take umbrage with counterpart Warren Gatland's public claims over the All Blacks' potentially dangerous treatment of box-kicking extraordinaire Conor Murray at Eden Park.

Labelling the comments "predictable" and "desperate", the World-Cup winner took offence at the apparent implication that his players had deliberately intended to injure the Ireland scrum-half by diving at his standing leg, saying his fellow Kiwi should know that sort of approach is not consistent with the national psyche.

Conor Murray
Warren Gatland felt that New Zealand's treatment of Conor Murray in Auckland was dangerous

Gatland followed Australia's Michael Cheika in being visually mocked as a clown by the inflammatory New Zealand Herald, an action that Hansen criticised as he sought to calm simmering tensions between the pair.

On the pitch, Gatland has made several key changes to his squad in pursuit of a crucial victory. First Test skipper Peter O'Mahony makes way for Tour captain Sam Warburton as the Lions attempt to enforce at least parity at the breakdown, while Maro Itoje replaces Saracens teammate George Kruis and not Alun Wyn Jones in the second row.

Reverting back to the 10-12 pairing of Johnny Sexton and Owen Farrell that he originally intended to field against the All Blacks at the beginning of the tour, Gatland, not adverse to making big calls as his infamous dropping of Brian O'Driscoll in Sydney four years ago attests, is rolling the dice and potentially sacrificing defensive steel for a more creative attacking approach that is directly at odds with the hurtful "Warrenball" moniker that he so detests.

The powerful Ben Te'o can count himself extremely unfortunate to be demoted to the bench after forming a productive partnership with Jonathan Davies in Auckland and also coping excellently in the latest installment of his explosive rivalry with former NRL adversary Sonny Bill Williams.

Owen Farrell and Johnny Sexton
Much will depend on the partnership between Owen Farrell and Johnny Sexton

Kruis, O'Mahony and Leigh Halfpenny have been dropped altogether, while Courtney Lawes, Jack Nowell and CJ Stander are all promoted to the matchday 23 after their respective exploits against the Hurricanes in midweek.

Hansen has also made changes, although his are enforced with Ben Smith (concussion) and Ryan Crotty (hamstring) both ruled out due to injury. Israel Dagg moves to full-back to make room for Highlanders wing Waisake Naholo, while Anton Lienert-Brown comes into midfield. The uncapped Ngani Laumape is promoted to replacement duties after scoring for the 'Canes against the Lions in that thrilling 31-all draw.


New Zealand: 15. Israel Dagg, 14. Waisake Naholo, 13. Anton Lienert-Brown, 12. Sonny Bill Williams, 11. Rieko Ioane, 10. Beauden Barrett, 9. Aaron Smith; 1. Joe Moody, 2. Codie Taylor, 3. Owen Franks, 4. Brodie Retallick, 5. Samuel Whitelock, 6. Jerome Kaino, 7. Sam Cane, 8. Kieran Read (c)

Replacements: 16. Nathan Harris, 17. Wyatt Crockett, 18. Charlie Faumuina, 19. Scott Barrett, 20. Ardie Savea, 21. TJ Perenara, 22. Aaron Cruden, 23. Ngani Laumape

Waisake Naholo
Waisake Naholo's try helped the Highlanders to beat the Lions 23-22 in Dunedin earlier this month

British and Irish Lions: 15. Liam Williams, 14. Anthony Watson 13. Jonathan Davies, 12. Owen Farrell, 11. Elliot Daly, 10. Johnny Sexton, 9. Conor Murray; 1. Mako Vunipola, 2. Jamie George, 3. Tadhg Furlong, 4. Alun Wyn Jones, 5. Maro Itoje, 6. Sam Warburton (c), 7. Sean O'Brien, 8. Taulupe Faletau

Replacements: 16. Ken Owens, 17. Jack McGrath, 18. Kyle Sinckler, 19. Courtney Lawes, 20. CJ Stander, 21. Rhys Webb, 22. Ben Te'o, 23. Jack Nowell

What the coaches say

Steve Hansen: "You guys are having a field day at the moment between Gats and I, so I am not feeding it. I think it is really disappointing. It's one thing to have a bit of banter and then you guys beef it up to make it bigger than it really is. I have heard you say that I don't like him and we won't have a beer.

"I have got a lot of respect for him. I think he is a good coach. I have got a lot of respect for the Lions, they are a good team. To come out and do that, you are ridiculing somebody that doesn't deserve it. At the end of the day, we are all coaches trying to do what we think is right."

Warren Gatland and Steve Hansen
Warren Gatland and Steve Hansen - not the best of friends

Warren Gatland: "It is a big challenge for us, as coaches and players we know that the series is on the line. A lot of the players have spoken about it being the biggest match of their careers. We are all aware as coaches that it is a massive game. Wining on Saturday gets us to the Cup final, it's a knockout game, lose this Saturday and the series is over and we are all pretty aware of that.

"All we can ask from the guys is to train well and have an attitude. In fairness to the All Blacks they played exceptionally well against us, they were very direct with the way they played. We are aware of how physical they were and we have to match that physicality on Saturday night."