Auckland - The deciding third Test against the All Blacks at
Eden Park on Saturday will be like playing in a Rugby World Cup final and the
British and Irish Lions are keen to make sure they do not get swept up in the
emotion of the game.
The Lions head into the match riding a wave of confidence
after their 24-21 victory at Wellington Regional Stadium that levelled the
three-match series at 1-1.
Assistant coach Neil Jenkins said the Lions know they must
play the game of their lives to beat the All Blacks, who won the first test at
Eden Park 30-15.
"Look, we know what's coming. They're incredibly good.
We know that," Jenkins told reporters in Queenstown, where the team have
been based since Sunday.
"Very rarely do they lose and very rarely do they lose
at home so everything is on the line.
"It's the series decider, World Cup final if you like.
Whatever you want to label it as, it's a humongous game. We know how hard it's
going to be."
The only Lions team to beat New Zealand in a series was
Carwyn James' 1971 vintage, and if the current crop are to repeat that success
they will have to overcome the All Blacks at a venue where they have not lost
since 1994, to France.
Last Saturday's defeat in Wellington was the All Blacks'
first home loss since 2009. The last time they lost two in a row at home was
1998 when they were beaten 13-3 by the Springboks in Wellington and 27-23 by
the Wallabies the following week in Christchurch.
New Zealand were in the middle of a massive rebuild that
year having lost several veteran players including captain Sean Fitzpatrick and
loose forward Zinzan Brooke, and they lost five successive games.
Lions hooker Jamie George said they had to put all thoughts
of history and records out of their minds and simply play the game on Saturday.
"I have said it before and I will say it again, we
cannot get carried away with the emotional side of the game," he said.
"We have got to make sure that physically we are on it,
mentally we are on it, that we know our stuff and we can go into the game with
clear heads and really attack it, because sometimes you can get overawed by the
"Thinking about making history and all that, I don't
think we can think about it. We just think about play by play, minute by