Keith Wood: Lions have the edge on the bench

Both teams were named ahead of the first test this weekend

BY Simon Maguire 21:51 Wednesday 21 June 2017, 21:51 21 Jun 2017

Lions' Maro Itoje. Image: ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

The Lions and the All Blacks have named their sides ahead of the first test this weekend.

Peter O'Mahony will lead the tourists while Kieran Read was recalled to the New Zealand starting line-up after recovering from a thumb injury. 

Keith Wood joined Wednesday's Off the Ball to discuss the line-ups and believes the tourists have a slight edge off the bench. 

Speaking to Ger Gilroy, he said: "I think it's a really good use of the squad and that's one of the parts of it. One of the difficulties in saying 'this is the form team' is that how do you fully gauge the performances of the players against teams that didn't quite show as well - you expected more from the Chiefs and you'd have expected more from the Maori last weekend. 

"So, some of the level of competition is not exactly like-with-like but these are the players that seem to have put their hands up for the Lions. But, one of the elements I thought all along where the lions might have a little bit of an edge is on the bench. And, when you look at the bench, it's impactful. 

"Like Itoje - would you want Alun Wyn Jones on the bench or would you want Itoje on the bench? I think you'd probably want Itoje. He's like a force of nature at the end. You have an old canny operator to take some of the sting out of it for 50 minutes and then suddenly put in a player who has phenomenal capacity for 30 minutes - that could be very good. 

"If you look at some of the security you have further back with Sexton and with Leigh Halfpenny if needed," he added.

You can listen to the full discussion here:

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