The Gaza Post|The News of Palestine
Captain Sam Warburton says the Lions need to up their physicality when they take on the All Blacks in Saturday’s crucial second Test.
New Zealand lead the three-match series 1-0 after winning 30-15 last weekend, meaning the Lions need a victory in Wellington if they are to keep the series alive.
And one challenge facing the Lions on Saturday will be to vastly improve their physical presence, after being outgunned in that department by the All Blacks at Eden Park.
And head coach Warren Gatland has taken the steps to rectify the situation by selecting Warburton in the back row and England’s Maro Itoje at lock.
And Warburton said the Lions need to ‘dominate’ their hosts on Saturday if they are to secure a famous win.
“Being physical doesn’t mean beating people up,” said the Welshman.
“It means your scrum is dominant, your lineout is dominant, your breakdown is dominant and that is the majority of the game, really, apart from the kicking side.
“That has to improve this weekend. I think the guys that have been brought in can add a bit of strength to that.
“You all play the game because you enjoy the physical side of sport. I used to play football and I got too many yellow cards, so I started playing rugby.
“I love the physical side of it and when you come off second-best it does hurt.”
Warburton will lead a side which will also feature the combination of Johnny Sexton and Owen Farrell at fly-half and inside centre, respectively, and their work alongside scrum-half Conor Murray could prove crucial to the Lions’ victory chances.
“It [the Sexton-Farrell partnership] worked well against the Crusaders,” Warburton added.
“From a forward’s perspective, it’s great when you get up from working hard at a scrum or a lineout and that ball has been sent forward 30-40 metres and you are playing the territory game well – which should go well for us.
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“That is obviously going to be part of the tactic. You’ve probably got three of the best players at game-management in the world in Conor, Owen and Johnny.”
Should the Lions lose this weekend then the debate about the viability of future tours may resurface but Warburton says the Lions concept remains hugely worthwhile.
“I don’t understand the politics and the finances of it but, from the playing point of view it has been the absolute pinnacle of my career, and every career highlight I have had has been in a Lions shirt,” said the 28-year-old.
“Without sounding too strong, I would be gutted, devastated, if the Lions was ever lost. I think it’s absolutely amazing and the players all think the same.
“In my house, I’ve only got one jersey hanging up on the wall and it’s my Lions jersey. That is how much I think of the Lions.”
Source :Sky Sports