The Lions will be looking to take the series tomorrow at Eden Park, where New Zealand have not lost for 23 years! It will be a big ask but it feels like there is something brewing.
Lions defence has been very good, with a rush and a hook aiming to stop the All Blacks from gaining ground and to some extent offloading. However, it has been pointed out that the Lions are conceding cynical penalties to avoid tries. This is an age old tactic but with the way that the referees are responding when coaches raise points in the media, they’ll have to be careful.
Last week there were plenty of penalties (13) given away, and it nearly allowed the Kiwis to win the game. If Barrett’s boot had been in form, then it would have been an embarrassing defeat to 14 men. The men in red need to be aware of their surroundings and be proactive rather than reactive. It also means no laziness and doing the basics well.
Win the upfront battle
In the video below, Haskell talks about how Gatland thought that the Lions got bullied and beaten up. Winning the upfront battle is one of the most important things in rugby to get players on the front foot and put defences out of place. Furthermore, it gives a psychological edge to the team winning them.
Get Possession and Territory stats up
Often when they had the ball in the 2nd test the Lions kicked it away. Everyone raves about the Lions defence, but as we have seen their attack has a vicious bite. The Lions could do with some ball in hand to showcase this attack. Having two ball players at 10 and 12 means that the ball needs to go out and to hand to get the best out of them. The 38% possession and 41% territory stats of the second test simply aren’t enough to beat 15 ABs at Eden Park.
Gatland only used 4 substitutes, one being Jack Nowell who went off again after Watson passed is HIA. Subs are vital in the modern game to ensure that the same intensity prevails throughout the match. I think Gatland would do well to bring on the likes of CJ Stander, Webb, and Te’o to finish the game with the high intensity and physical power that they can contribute. The Kiwis always finish strong so it is vital to be able to counteract this.
All in all its going to be a great test, I just hope its a record breaking one.