Simmering Lions can restore pride in defining match of New Zealand tour

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Warren Gatland’s side must look within if they are to keep the series alive and a fast start in the second Test could heap pressure on the All Blacks

When the British & Irish Lions set out a month ago this was the weekend they knew would define their tour. Could they be ahead in the series or at least in contention going into the final Test? The unpalatable third option – 2-0 down with one to play – was always lurking in the shrubbery but the 2017 squad, from day one, have refused to entertain the possibility.

It has been the same all around New Zealand as the Lions have set about earning respect in Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Rotorua, Hamilton and, now, the nation’s capital. They have not always found it but Kiwi cafe owners and camper van rental firms would happily have the red-shirted fans and their wallets back every year. The All Black captain, Kieran Read, is also among those baffled by talk of the Lions concept dying: “I don’t think that will happen, mate. It’s just been so exciting being around the country the last couple of weeks. I’m sure it will continue.”

Related: Sam Warburton warns All Blacks to be braced for Lions physical backlash

Related: Sam Warburton’s return provides Lions with welcome injection of belief

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Sportblog | The Guardian

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