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Sam Warburton will lead the Lions on Tuesday
"The players are really happy with the way the tour is progressing and how we're developing as a team".
Gatland still has two more games before he has to name his Test 23 but with many questions yet to be answered, it is clear that the small matter of naming his captain could still be one of them.
Nowell will be looking to improve on what was a disappointing display against the Blues and he has shown how unsafe 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.
There has been a lot of criticism and people had written the tour off after two matches. And that's been challenging. That has been challenging for us all.
The former All Blacks hooker said: "Our scrum will be very strong when it's Test time".
"We said before this game that the most important thing was the result", he said.
The Lions led 9-3 at half time thanks to three Farrell penalties to one from Richie Mo'unga, and in a tight second half, Farrell kicked his fourth penalty 10 minutes from full time.
It was an impressive performance to inflict a first defeat of the season on the Super Rugby side, and the good news was that the Lions were creating the chances to score tries - just not converting them.
The Highlanders have had their squad plundered by the All Blacks and the Maori All Blacks, losing key playmakers in scrum-half Aaron Smith and full-back Ben Smith to the national side, plus Elliot and Ash Dixon, Joe Wheeler, Rob Thompson and Tom Franklin to the Maori select side.
Sexton and Farrell were thrust together prematurely on Saturday after Stuart Hogg's facial injury and a blow to the head for Wales centre Davies.
There is buzz and there is excitement and little fear as the Highlanders prepare to take on the British and Irish Lions on Tuesday. 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' next physical challenge takes place against the Highlanders in Dunedin tomorrow and Farrell said of the squad's workload: "I think we're bearing the fruit of the last three weeks".
"We need to be as ruthless as we can be because as we go through this tour the teams we coming up against are going to be getting more and more ruthless. I'm desperate to get another win and kick on again so the confidence can grow".
Asked to assess the team Gatland named against Crusaders, and whether it could be the line-up starting the first test, Sir Ian believes the head coach will still want to try combinations before the meeting with the All Blacks.
Highlanders R Buckman; W Naholo, M Fekitoa, T Walden, T Li; L Sopoaga, K Hammington; D Lienert-Brown, L Coltman, S Tokolahi, A Ainley, J Hemopo, G Evans, D Hunt, L Whitelock (capt).
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