Be­ware wounded Li­ons, says cap­tain Read

Home team ex­pect a more phys­i­cal game to­day

The National - News - Sport - - RUGBY UNION -

WELLING­TON // New Zealand cap­tain Kieran Read has told his team to ex­pect an even greater phys­i­cal bat­tle from the Bri­tish & Ir­ish Li­ons to­day as the tourists go into the sec­ond Test know­ing noth­ing short of vic­tory will do.

The All Blacks beat the Li­ons 30-15 at Eden Park last week in a bruis­ing first Test by play­ing a more direct style and dom­i­nat­ing the col­li­sions.

All Blacks full­back Israel Dagg said he had been un­able to walk prop­erly for two days af­ter the match, but he also quipped that may be more to do with his age be­ing 29 than what went on dur­ing the match. Li­ons coach War­ren Gat­land has chal­lenged his play­ers to up their phys­i­cal­ity af­ter say­ing they had lost that bat­tle to the All Blacks, and Read said his side ex­pected a se­ries of red waves to hit them at Welling­ton Re­gional Sta­dium to­day.

“If any­thing it’s go­ing to be more phys­i­cal,” Read said yes­ter­day. “I can’t wait for that bat­tle. We’ve got to ex­pect that.

“When you put those things on the line it makes teams play pretty ruth­less and want­ing to do the best they can.

“It’s their tour, it’s their year this next game.

“For us we’ve got to have that same mind­set, we can’t just be wait­ing for what they go­ing to bring.

“We’ve got to go out there and take it for our­selves and try and lead with our game.”

The Li­ons have in­cluded tour cap­tain Sam War­bur­ton in the start­ing side for to­day’s Test, to essen­tially play two open­side flankers with Sean O’Brien to at­tack the break­down.

“I think what’s been com­ing out of their camp this week is that they’re def­i­nitely go­ing to tar­get it a bit more than last week so we cer­tainly ex­pect that,” Read said.

“They’ve got two guys who nor­mally play open­side. That’s their role to fetch the ball.

“If we can dom­i­nate some ball car­ri­ers we hope it can nul­lify what they’ve got.”

Read said the fact that it would be an­other 12 years be­fore the Li­ons visit New Zealand again en­sured no one was tak­ing the Tests for granted.

“It has been built up be­cause of the rar­ity. It only comes around ev­ery 12 years and it’s not lost on our play­ers,” he said.

“I cer­tainly know we are ex­cited by the chal­lenge. We knew last week we were in a mas­sive Test match. So it’s not go­ing to be easy to­mor­row. It will be re­ally tough.”

Peter Parks / AFP

All Blacks cap­tain Kieran Read, right, ex­pects the Li­ons to ‘play pretty ruth­less’ in to­day’s sec­ond Test at Welling­ton.

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