All Blacks expect to win, says confident Read

"They have picked a form team", the All Blacks number eight said.

British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland has come in for some criticism recently for his decision to call up six players to his squad to shield his test team from midweek matches.

"Whoever dominates the set piece, ruck area will have a strong (chance) of winning the game", he said.

With the Welsh and Scottish national teams based in New Zealand and Australia respectively, Gatland called up four Welsh and two Scottish players, due to their proximity to his Lions squad.

"We have to be physical and give ourselves opportunities". I think we're in a good place, if we weren't creating line breaks I'd be a anxious man sitting here.

"Yes you can pick some things up from watching but most things and situations you find you have to go through it on the field".

The All Blacks' spiritual home - Eden Park - will host Saturday's clash.

The All Blacks are on an incredible run of 37 successive victories at Eden Park, having last lost there in July 1994 to France, who secured a 23-20 win with a score dubbed "the try from the end of the world" seconds from time.

Read added: "They're bloody good players in their own right and they play in their own style". They have also won 46 successive games in New Zealand dating back to a 2009 defeat to South Africa.

"It doesn't necessarily mean anything heading into Saturday, but it is certainly something we enjoy, coming to play in front of a great crowd".

"It was always in him, he was always a leader, he was always someone who if something wasn't done right he'd want to put it right and he wouldn't be happy until it was just knowing him as a person, when we all came into Munster with the like of Paul O'Connell, O'Gara, all these guys, we have grown with them and probably taken a lot of experience off them, and learned an terrible lot". We don't mind pressure. "Losing would be pretty bad, and any time we lose it's something we don't like", said Read. Our perspective is the challenge.

"We know it's going to be a massive challenge, but this group as All Blacks want to take that head on and embrace it". If you are anxious about results or what could happen, your mind is off the job.

"If we got down to five games it would fundamentally change the way a tour is perceived by the players and the fans and it would be hard for the Lions to be brought together for the Test matches with just two warm-up games". Speaking on Thursday's Off the Ball, and asked if a similar suggestion was brought to him when he was captain in 2005, he said: "I wouldn't have approved - that's for sure".

To combat this, the Lions know they have to put in an 80-minute performance if they are to go 1-0 up in the series.

"I've known Pete for years and years, and it's really refreshing to see that it hasn't changed him at all".

"We'll make the substitutions as they're needed".

  • Joanne Flowers