British & Irish Lions have gone for a side to keep the All Blacks guessing | Robert Kitson

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Warren Gatland and his staff have had their selection meeting and come up with a cussed-looking team with a no-nonsense physical edge for Saturday’s first Test

It is so long since the All Blacks lost a Test at Eden Park that Maro Itoje was not even born the last time it happened. In July 1994 Wet Wet Wet were at No1 in the UK singles charts with Love Is All Around and rugby union was still, officially, an amateur game. Should the British & Irish Lions win in Auckland on Saturday it really will be a special achievement.

For Lions fans in search of omens 23 years on, it could scarcely be any wetter across New Zealand’s north island than it is right now. They should also be encouraged by the side Warren Gatland has chosen: this is one that will not mind a greasy ball and has a notably hard, cussed look to it.

Related: Elliot Daly starts for British & Irish Lions in first Test against All Blacks

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Sportblog | The Guardian

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