Rowntree welcomes Lions headache after Chiefs rout


Graham Rowntree has welcomed the selection headache brought on by the British and Irish Lions' 34-6 rout of the Chiefs ahead of the crunch first Test against New Zealand.

The Lions were rampant in their final warm-up match in Waikato, with Elliot Daly, Courtney Lawes and Jack Nowell among those that particularly shone in an impressive performance.

And scrum coach Rowntree says those that played against Chiefs have put themselves in contention to line up against the All Blacks at Eden Park on Saturday.

"We are very pleased for that group," he told reporters.

"A lot of those guys were disappointed the previous week against the Highlanders [a 23-22 defeat], so I was delighted with the performance for 80 minutes. They kept their foot on the throttle.

"There is a big game around the corner. Picking the squad every week has been tough and I think it is going to be even tougher now. A few guys put their hands up, and that won't be ignored.

"It was always going to be a big debate because of the quality of the squad, but quite a few put their hands up."

Rowntree, part of the Lions squad in 1997 and 2005, also praised the minimalist approach adopted by head coach Warren Gatland.

"He's very good at saying the right thing," he added.

"He doesn't say too much and in fact his mantra, as he would always admit, is less is more.

"That applies to coaching, to us, he keeps a leash on us and how much coaching we're doing.

"He keeps the lads fresh but works them hard. I like working for him, he has a nice intensity about him, without being too open with that.

"He spoke exceptionally well to the group last night before we left the hotel, spoke with real passion.

"But he's measured, he knows how to pick the tone up, or bring it down. He's a very experienced man."