Andy Farrell believes Sam Warburton is "battle-hardened" and improving day by day as the British and Irish Lions captain inches towards the Test match squad.
The Lions have left Warburton out of Tuesday's squad to face the Chiefs in Hamilton however, and now he is edging ever closer to a spot in Saturday's line-up for the first All Blacks Test.
Peter O'Mahony, Sean O'Brien and Taulupe Faletau have excelled as a back-row combination, but Cardiff star Warburton could yet even squeeze into the first Test starting XV.
Leigh Halfpenny is continuing through return-to-play protocols after a suspected head injury but Lions assistant coach Farrell believes the Wales full-back remains on course to face New Zealand on Saturday.
Fly-half Owen Farrell is now expected to be fit after a thigh concern too, leaving the Lions approaching full strength for the Test series opener.