WELLINGTON (Reuters) - All Blacks captain Kieran Read has told his team to expect an even greater physical battle from the British and Irish Lions on Saturday 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 also quipped that that may be more to do with him 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 on Saturday.
”If anything it’s going to be more physical,“ Read told reporters on Friday. ”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 Saturday, 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 its not lost on our players,” he added.
“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.”
Editing by Peter Rutherford