Lunedi, 27 Mag, 2019

'World Cup final' as All Blacks meet Lions

Dawson and All Blacks captain Wilson Whineray lead out their teams before the first Test in 1959 'World Cup final' as All Blacks meet Lions
Parmenio Sano | 24 Giugno, 2017, 06:15

Tomorrow's Test will take place at Auckland's Eden Park, where the All Blacks are undefeated in 23 years.

Saturday's Eden Park showdown will be the first time a Lions tour captain has missed the opening Test since England's Doug Prentice did so in 1930. They are likely at first to rely on the heavy brigade of Ben Te'o and Jonathan Davies to pound the ball up in midfield but they are determined to be more than one-dimensional.

But if the picture becomes clearer as to why O'Mahony starts in Gatland's XV ahead of Sam Warburton and CJ Stander, it still appears a rapid ascension to the captaincy.

Following years of planning, months of hype and plenty of trash talk in recent weeks, it will be down to the players to show that actions speak louder than words in Auckland. Gatland also argues that Hansen is anxious by what he has seen of them on tour.

The Lions face a monumental task in the three-match series and start at a famous stadium where the world champions have won their last 37 matches and are unbeaten since 1994. This could be a fantastic series for the Lions, New Zealand rugby and the New Zealand public.

"The hospitality has been awesome".

"Looking back on Chicago you've got to keep going, keep attacking, not go into your shell".

In line with his commitment to attack, Gatland reshuffled his backline to include Liam Williams at fullback and Elliot Daly on the wing after their eye-catching performances in this week's 34-6 win over Waikato Chiefs.


"You can't be thinking what other people are thinking about, getting excited about external things". "Since we got into camp last week I have been pretty good".

The tactics will be intriguing, with England lock George Kruis saying the Lions will "try anything" to gain an advantage, including screaming in the lineouts to upset the All Blacks.

"Turn around and run back, and don't change your line".

Any penalty indiscretions in their own half could be costly for the All Blacks, with the Lions flyhalf Owen Farrell having a high success rate with his goal kicking. "I know how good [Rieko] Ioane is but this is a big game for everyone".

"To play against the All Blacks, you've got to have a strong set-piece because they've traditionally been dominant in that area". O'Mahony said he takes the job knowing the advice Foley would have given him, "play your game, play what you do and what you know".

As coaches they are also similar, with both choosing the style that best uses the resources of their respective playing groups. I have come on a journey through rugby union and I am very humbled and proud to be named in this team alongside so many world-class players.

"We had one of the longest selection meetings I have been in for a while - an hour and 20 minutes".

"I've just tried to play my best rugby".

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