Lions learn from All Blacks' Chicago woes

There are pints in hand from early in the afternoon, while the earlier arrivals show signs of fatigue from the night before.

Then when tour captain Sam Warburton struggled to regain full fitness after knee surgery, O'Mahony was named to captain the Lions in last weekend's match against the New Zealand Maori - an effective test dress rehearsal.

The All Blacks believe they've cracked the code to beating the British and Irish Lions rushed defence, with coach Steve Hansen saying yesterday they have plans to outsmart their lightning line speed.

But Read said the Lions Test was a different beast with the result to be determined by forward power.

"We saw previous year he caused the All Blacks problems with his running and attacking game, and when we sat down on Wednesday we asked whether we needed to look at our back-three and we needed to go there and have players who have some footwork and to play some rugby. We know it's going to be a tough encounter", Gatland said.

"We will go out there and expect to win, like everyone else in New Zealand will expect us to win. I was at a meeting in their hotel on Thursday morning and the team came in and had breakfast with everyone - which I think is pretty cool - but they are a bit on edge". "And that's what we wanted from the referees, the top five officials in world rugby were there".

"The World Cup is a knockout tournament, and the difference with the Lions is you get three goes".

Owen Farrell says the British and Irish Lions must go about their business at Eden Park on Saturday and not get wrapped up in the occasion.

"It's a game of rugby and you have got to think about it like it is - a game of rugby". As a touring team, they play all of their key matches away from home.

But, ahead of the first Test in Auckland on Saturday, Hansen described worry as a "wasted emotion".

"It's the Lions against the All Blacks and you have got to use everything you have had over your entire rugby career and try and use it all for Saturday".

"We know we've got to be courageous coming here".

The Munster player jumped off the bench for the full 80 minutes in Dublin after Jamie Heaslip suffered a back problem, and his relentless showing sealed his Lions tour call-up.

Ardie Savea will move to the bench to make way for the returning Kieran Read, who will captain the side.

"I haven't had any conversations about Gats [Gatland]", Hansen said.

Murray has played with O'Mahony from a young age.

Conor Murray is one player who is drawing on the knowledge gleaned from Ireland's memorable win over New Zealand in Chicago. "He has that Paul O'Connell kind of DNA in him, being a Munster man".

"I'm delighted for him".

"He doesn't seem more stressed, he has taken it in his stride, it has always been a dream of his to captain the Lions and you know the lads really respect him".

  • Carolyn Briggs