WARREN Gatland has revealed that Liam Williams’ dazzling midweek display convinced him to reconsider his view of the Wales man as a winger and hand him the 15 jersey for the British and Irish Lions’ first Test against New Zealand.

The Scarlets speedster, who will move to European champions Saracens on his return, was a surprise inclusion in the XV for tomorrow’s Eden Park opener at the expense of Leigh Halfpenny.

Attack coach Rob Howley consistently said last season that he views Williams as a winger rather than a full-back, a stance Gatland repeated earlier on in the tour.

Halfpenny provides terrific defensive positioning, solid tackling and a strong kicking game from both the tee and out of hand.

However, Williams is more of a threat with ball in hand and showed that when lining up at 15 in the convincing 34-6 win against the Chiefs last Tuesday.

The performance forced Gatland, who lost Scotland full-back Stuart Hogg to a facial injury earlier in the tour, into a change of heart.

“I said, in my opinion, I think wing is his best position. He can get involved in the game a lot from there,” said the Wales boss, who has mainly only given Williams the Wales 15 jersey when Halfpenny has been injured.

“But I’ve also been consistent in saying selection would come down to form and the players who played on Tuesday night would still have an opportunity to go and impress. He did that.

“He was elusive, he caused the Chiefs a lot of damage, he played well and so he has been given an opportunity at 15.”

Gatland insisted that the Lions have delivered the selection priorities they had promised.

“I’d like to think we’ve been consistent in the messages we’ve been delivering,” said the head coach.

“We said that we’d pick the team on form, there are some differences from predictions at the start of the tour, but that’s what we’ve done.”

The Lions announced their Test intentions with their bullish 12-3 win over the Crusaders before dispatching the Maori 32-10.

Wing Elliot Daly and Williams played their way into the Test side in Tuesday’s 34-6 win over the Chiefs in Hamilton, and Gatland pledged the Lions will stick to their long-held plans over styles of play.

“We squeezed the life out of those two teams and we won’t stop being aggressive defensively,” said Gatland of the Lions’ wins over the Crusaders and the Maori.

“To play against the All Blacks you’ve got to have a strong set-piece, you need a platform to be able to work off to start with.

“We’ve created opportunities, early on the tour we weren’t finishing off the line breaks, but on Tuesday against the Chiefs we started to do that.

“I think we’ve played some lovely rugby. We struggled at the start of the tour, but we’ve outscored opponents nine tries to three in the last four games.

“I can’t fault the players if we’re getting some success by dominating up front. We’re not going to be talked into playing Barbarian-type rugby when we’ve got certain weapons we can use to our advantage.

“That’s being smart about how you play and hopefully we can be strong at set piece and strong defensively, and when the opportunities arise we can get in behind the All Blacks and finish the opportunities we create.”