Lions face toughest test
HOW much have the British and Irish Lions learned in the space of a week?
The answer to that question will determine whether the 2017 team send their series against the All Blacks into a third and deciding Test – or if they return home with the same unwanted outcome as 11 of the 12 Lions teams that have toured New Zealand before them.
Coach Warren Gatland’s ( pictured) fate will be determined in today’s second rugby Test in Wellington.
He and his team have spoken of their desperation to prove they are better than the 30- 15 first- Test loss in Auckland, where they had planned to impose themselves physically on the world champions.
Instead, it worked the other way, with Gatland outcoached on the night by Steve Hansen, who had his All Blacks running hard and close to the ruck, relentlessly turning the tourists around.
“In fairness, they played exceptionally well against us,” Gatland said.
“The guys would have gained a lot from that. We’ve experienced it now and we should cope better with it.”
Captain Sam Warburton returns as skipper, giving the Lions two openside flankers, while starting lock Maro Itoje is also a mobile presence at the breakdown.
And they now boast twin playmakers in Johnny Sexton and Owen Farrell.