British and Irish Lions ruthlessly conquer the Chiefs in Hamilton

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NZN

The British and Irish Lions have picked up the first mid-week win of their New Zealand rugby tour, outclassing the Chiefs 34-6 in Hamilton.

The hosts barely had a sniff on home soil tonight as a supposedly second-string Lions squad - missing most of the players who will play the All Blacks on Saturday - picked them apart at will, running in four tries and dominating from first to last.

Despite their struggles, the Chiefs remained within touching distance until early in the second half, when blindside Mitchell Brown was sent to the sin bin for helping collapse a maul on his own line and conceded a penalty try to boot.

They then gave up breakaway five-pointers to Jack Nowell - who had earlier bagged one - and the Kiwi-born Jared Payne to end the contest.

The Lions will press on to Saturday's first Test in Auckland, where coach Warren Gatland may have fresh selection headaches after positive performances from Nowell, Dan Cole, CJ Stander and Dan Biggar.

The Chiefs, meanwhile, will retire to lick their wounds - and assess the condition of injured winger Toni Pulu - before returning to Super Rugby in July.

Sloppiness at the set-piece brought about much of the Chiefs' undoing, with the hosts squandering three lineouts and a trio of penalties at scrum time.

Yet while the Lions enjoyed most of the first-half territory and possession, they struggled to convert into points, with few genuine try-scoring chances.

Nowell's 25th-minute first was secured via a leaping effort from a pick-and-go before the floodgates opened for the Lions in the second stanza.

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