Buoyant Lions hungry to create history
ON July 3, 1994, France scored “the try from the end of the world” to defeat the All Blacks 23- 20 at Eden Park.
It was the last time New Zealand lost at the ground. It’s so long ago that OJ Simpson hadn’t yet been chased along a freeway by LA police.
Fifteen months after that famous victory in Auckland – capped by an 80m movement that went through nine sets of hands before France fullback Jean- Luc Sadourny scored – a baby was born in London.
His Nigerian parents named him Oghenemaro Miles Itoje. On Saturday night, Maro Itoje, 22, takes the field in the British & Irish Lions jersey, planning to end a hoodoo that has plagued international teams since before his birth.
The All Blacks, the most successful sporting team in history, defend their Eden Park record against one of the best teams ever assembled, a millionaires’ row of northern hemisphere superstars hoping to return home as legends.
With the series locked 1- 1 and history beckoning at this rugby cauldron, the Test will be the biggest rugby game outside of a World Cup final.
The black fortress that is Eden Park will for the first time become a ground for the opposition. Thanks to a late rush of ticket purchases by expat Brits and Irish based in Asia, Australia and New Zealand, the Lions fans will outnumber Kiwi fans at the ground.