Buoy­ant Lions hun­gry to cre­ate his­tory

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - JAMIE PANDARAM

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.

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