Lions sense historic win ahead of third Test

Fri, 07 Jul 2017 07:44
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IN THE SPOTLIGHT: The All Blacks and British and Irish Lions wrapped up preparations for Saturday's deciding third Test, with the visitors confident they are on the verge of an historic victory.

"You can see a glint in the players' eyes," said Lions assistant coach Rob Howley, talking up the huge shift in momentum in the fortnight since they lost the first Test. 

"There's been a glint in their eyes since Wellington and that glint hasn't gone away because they know they can create history on the weekend." 

The New Zealanders, who were visited at their training camp by America's Cup-winning helmsman Peter Burling, remain grimly determined.

In the rugby-obsessed nation, they are under intense pressure to atone for the second Test defeat and avoid becoming only the second New Zealand side to lose a series to the Lions.

"You come off a loss and there's a bit of an edge around and guys want to get back out there and have another crack and fortunately we've got that opportunity," captain Kieran Read said. 

"The reality is we know what's coming up. It's a three-match series and this was always going to be the case if we lost one of those first two games." 

Howley said the Lions had some surprises in store for the All Blacks.

"We've got some plays up our sleeve that we've continually worked off the field in terms of the pictures and shapes we've seen defensively from the All Blacks," he said. 

"It's the final game. It's 1-1 in the series. By the very nature of the game, there's not going to be too many chances. We've spoken about it being a World Cup final. There may be one or two chances and we have to take them.

"When you play New Zealand, the point of difference is the front five, it's the skill set, it's the energy and what they bring and at this moment in time we think we're matching them."

The last time the All Blacks faced a game of this magnitude at Eden Park was the 2011 World Cup Final where they scraped home over France 8-7.

Read, along with Israel Dagg, Aaron Cruden, Jerome Kaino, Sam Whitelock and Owen Franks played in that match, and Read said their experience has been crucial in this week's build-up.

"There's not much panic, that's the biggest thing," Read said.

"There's a few guys who are used to it so you have to just impart your knowledge on what these moments mean to teams. 

"As a rugby player, these are the moments that you want to be involved in on the biggest stage."

Agence France-Presse

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 15 December 2017
Ulster v Harlequins 19h45 Kingspan Stadium
Sat, 16 December 2017
Montpellier v Glasgow Warriors 13h00 Altrad Stadium
Treviso v Scarlets 13h00 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Leinster v Exeter Chiefs 15h15 Aviva Stadium
Racing Metro v Castres 15h15 Stade Yves-du-Manoir
Bath v Toulon 17h30 Recreation Ground
Sun, 17 December 2017
Wasps v La Rochelle 13h00 Ricoh Arena
Clermont Auvergne v Saracens 15h15 Stade Marcel-Michelin
Ospreys v Northampton Saints 15h15 Liberty Stadium
Leicester Tigers v Munster 17h30 Welford Road
RESULT SCORE
Mon, 11 December 2017
Saracens v Clermont Auvergne 14 | 46
Sun, 10 December 2017
Exeter Chiefs v Leinster 8 | 18
Harlequins v Ulster 5 | 17
La Rochelle v Wasps 49 | 29
Sat, 09 December 2017
Munster v Leicester Tigers 33 | 10
Castres v Racing Metro 16 | 13
Northampton Saints v Ospreys 32 | 43
Toulon v Bath 24 | 20
Scarlets v Treviso 33 | 28
Fri, 08 December 2017
Glasgow Warriors v Montpellier 22 | 29
Sun, 03 December 2017
Harlequins v Saracens 20 | 19
Sat, 02 December 2017
Cheetahs v Scarlets 28 | 21
Munster v Ospreys 36 | 10
Wasps v Leicester Tigers 32 | 25
Treviso v Leinster 10 | 36
BRITISH & IRISH LIONS
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
B&I Lions 0 0 0 0 0
Australia 0 0 0 0 0
Barbarians 0 0 0 0 0
Force 0 0 0 0 0
Reds 0 0 0 0 0
Waratahs 0 0 0 0 0
Brumbies 0 0 0 0 0
Rebels 0 0 0 0 0
NSW-Queensland 0 0 0 0 0
Blues 0 0 0 0 0
Highlanders 0 0 0 0 0
Hurricanes 0 0 0 0 0
Crusaders 0 0 0 0 0
Chiefs 0 0 0 0 0
NZ Barbarians 0 0 0 0 0
Maori All Blacks 0 0 0 0 0
New Zealand 0 0 0 0 0