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Lions skipper Warburton returns to face Highlanders

“I thought our game management was outstanding against a very good side”, Farrell said on Monday following a final training run under the roof at the Forsyth Barr Stadium.The Warren Gatland-coached Lions can expect another bruising test of their credentials with the three-match series against the All Blacks looming on the horizon.Gatland had been left fuming at the unwelcome outside critiques that only increased after Wednesday’s 22-16 loss to the Blues – but used victory over the Crusaders as a stick with which to beat his detractors.Lions Coach Warren Gatland was happy with the performance, speaking after the game he said….I couldn’t believe the amount of stick they came in for after the first two games.”And that’s been challenging”. The game today was about getting a performance and proving to us and them that they are capable of putting some type of a performance up against the All Blacks in a few weeks time. We spoke about the more time we get together, the better we’ll get.”I have been hammered by the New Zealand media, so it has been a targeted campaign against me personally”, Gatland told talkSPORT.”But there’s still lots of things to work on”.Richie Mo’unga kicked a first half penalty for the only points for the Crusaders, who have claimed seven Super Rugby titles and won all 14 of their games in the competition this season. Conor Murray, Owen Farrell, George Kruis and Taulupe Faletau are four men nearly certain to begin the Test opener with the All Blacks.The Lions face the Maori on June 17, a clash in which Gatland has already admitted he could well field a starting line-up that would closely resemble his Test XV.With cover already deep on either flank and with Ross Moriarty also in the mix, though now sidelined with a back strain, it is certainly valid to consider Warburton’s inclusion as a possible weakening of the side.The Lions lost fullback Stuart Hogg and center Jonathan Davies to head knocks in the first half; Hogg was bloodied in a collision with teammate Murray and Davies did not return after being dazed in a tackle.Nowell will be looking to improve on what was a disappointing display against the Blues and he has shown how risky he can be for the Chiefs, and if Joseph and Henshaw can find space in the middle of the park – perhaps running off Stander’s shoulder – they should test the Highlanders in defence too. “At this level when you explain something to a group and you think you’re talking to just a certain minority, the rest of them tend to listen as well and pick it up”.”The lads that came on added impact as well, gave us front-foot ball”. I always say to young back-rowers, that if you want to become a top back-row player, you’ve got to be a specialist at something. I thought the most pleasing thing was keeping them down to three points, our discipline was better, but the main thing for us was that we got stronger throughout the game.