I dropped to my knees and my eyes started to well up, as i could not believe what i had just witnessed. Not moving and just trying to catch a breath, from all the running around my living room shouting, Sam Warburton came onto my tv screen for the on the field post match interview. Answering the question of ‘how does it feel to beat the All Blacks? He went on to hit the nail on the head. They are only halfway there, the series is level and they will only be happy if they get a series win next week. That is what the players want. As do the fans, but where as the players must have the mindset of, it’s on to next week, the job is only half done. They can’t get ahead of themselves. The next game would more than likely get away from them, pass them by. They are professionals and we the fans sadly are not. So we can run around our living rooms cheering, drink ourselves silly and get ahead of ourselves, it’s what fans do best. What every rugby fan wouldn’t give to be down there in New Zealand this week, for the build up and the game itself. The atmosphere will be electric and i wonder how many more fans will be heading out there. I cannot wait for Saturdays game, but…there is a little bit of fear that started creep in as i eventually started to calm down early Saturday morning. Even now it is still there, building and spinning round my head. The All Blacks don’t lose many games, let alone two on the bounce. They do not like losing, most players and teams dont, but the All Blacks dont as they very rarely lose. The Lions have got to expect a massive backlash on Saturday, the All Blacks will be determined not to have this feeling again. So the Lions have got surpass the levels they reached Saturday gone. They have become legends, now is the time to become immortals.
Looking towards the decider, there are two things the Lions need to do. Number one is not to change the starting lineup, they are just starting to gel and get used to each enough to play good rugby. For example the Sexton – Farrell partnership worked, so why change it? Number two is please please stop the penalties. Well at least stop giving so many away, the discipline has got to be a lot better than the last two tests. If Beauden Barrett hadn’t left his kicking boots in the changing rooms, the game would have been over within the first 20mins of the 2nd half. The fact New Zealand didn’t score any tries shows they only have themselves to blame for not getting the win. Yes ok they had Sonny Bill Williams sent off, but like I said they were on top at the start of the 2nd half, causing the Lions to make mistakes resulting in them giving away penalties. Apart from the high penalty count the team played really well, they really started to click and they scored two lovely tries. These were the glimpses of the attacking prowess we’d hope to see from the Lions back line.
So…Saturday probably the biggest games of the players lives. It will soon be here, it will soon be all over. There can only be one winner and at work yesterday I got asked who i thought will win. My answer i was as follows…If you had asked me before last weeks 2nd test i probably would have gone with my head and said the All Blacks will win the series 3-0. But now looking it, it’s a whole different ball game. The All Blacks are a wounded beast, their confidence of winning a whitewash series is in pieces and there is a growing pressure – more than normal – from their own fans. They are worried their team may not even win the series. But the Lions are on the up, they have momentum on their side. They are going for the kill and as i said previously straight after they won the 2nd test they didn’t get ahead of themselves, they were focused on the next game, to get the series win. I have a funny feeling that this weekend is when everything falls into place for the Lions. There is a 80mins game out there still for the Lions to have, please let it be this. Imagine trying to come up with the speech to say to the players before the game, a Jim Telfer 97 or Andy Farrell 2013 for example, what do you say to them before the biggest game of their lives. All i can say is, come on boys, be brave, be bold, be strong, be clever, be proud and be history.