WARREN GATLAND EXCLUDES MARO ITOJE FROM STARTING SQUAD

Preparations are in top gear for the first Test series game between the British & Irish Lions and the All Blacks of New Zealand.

After their daunting humiliation of Chiefs in the midweek, the Lions have been in a fix over the selection of the squad to feature at Auckland.

Warren Gatland, the coach of the Lions is worst hit as every tough decision is to be taken by him.

The team list for the squad heading into the game in Auckland was released yesterday and several issues and slights have been noticed by rugby experts such as Nick Easter, Geordan Murphy and Will Greenwood.

The first slight is the exclusion of MaroItoje from the starting list of the squad. Itoje has been remanded to the bench where he may likely come in as a sub.

Itoje, who is the youngest man on the tour broke into the England team back in 2016 and so far has been named the IRB Breakthrough Player of the Year.

He was instrumental to the successful tour of Australia as well as the carting home of two RBS Six Nations Championship.

With his call up to join the Gatland’s squad, the youngster proceeded to play himself into what seemed like a certain spot in the starting XV for the first Test against the All Blacks.

However, he would not be playing on Saturday as Gatlandinstead picked AlunWyn Jones, who featured in the 34-6 win over a second-string Chiefs side on Tuesday.

The Lions would have to be careful in their approach during the weekend as the All Blacks remain as strong as ever, having won the last two Rugby World Cups, while succeeding at keeping defeats even for international games at the barest minimum possible.