Lions do not need extra motivation for third Test says Rob Howley

Watch: Rugby royalty Kieran Read and Richie McCaw onboard as Peter Burling warmly received at All Blacks captain's run

Who is preparing better? He will provide 23 caps of international experience. I've had some element of that when I've stepped up as head coach (of Wales, in Gatland's absence) but it's not for me to comment on that.

The series is finely poised at one apiece. He also could've moved centre Anton Lienert-Brown inside, starting Fekitoa in the 13 jersey.

"But we aren't getting ahead of ourselves", he added.

ALL Blacks legend thinks Jordie Barrett is the best player in NZBy Lena Reece Friday 07/07/2017Jordie Barrett during training session (left).

He made his debut last week, joining a big-name club of All Blacks whose first match was a loss: Jonah Lomu, Ma'a Nonu, Joe Rokocoko and even Milner-Skudder. Referees can make 2,000 decisions in a game and Romain knows the rugby world will be watching him.

A hotly debated topic coming into the tour, the relationship between the pair looked strong throughout, just as it had in the Crusaders warm-up, and was key in the build-up to Taulupe Faletau's crucial try. Laumape will line up opposite Owen Farrell in the Lions' defensive line on Saturday.

Thirteen months ago Jordie Barrett found himself on a wet Tuesday afternoon in East Manchester facing up to a rampant Irish pack.

Steve Hansen, in a roundabout way, was asked how he had dealt with the incessant attention. "And that will be good". There is nothing uniquely special about Eden Park, despite the fact the All Blacks have not lost there since a quite extraordinary Test against France in 1994.

The All Blacks were similarly diverted by commercial duties the day before they slumped to a shock defeat against Ireland in Chicago last November, but evidently they still prioritise demands from their financial backers. When he gets closer the trigger is pulled on Laumape's capability to simply barge over the top of whoever is marking him.

The Sporting Index Group is best known as the world's largest sports spread betting business, offering the widest range of markets and taking some of the largest bets on sporting, political and entertainment events around the world.

So what are we to expect from these two? Who knows what tragedies were happening around the world because the only topic of conversation was hurling. Grant Nisbett, the voice of Kiwi rugby, was a noted fan.

So much is at stake for both sides, after the Lions' victory last week put them in a position to clinch only their second series win over New Zealand in 129 years of touring.

Why is it a big deal to be a Lion?

But Howley - who expressed the conviction that Gatland will one day coach the All Blacks - delivered an emphatic rebuttal of any lingering scepticism here. Though, given the form of Welshman Liam Williams, the Glasgow Warrior may well have missed out too. "But from a personal point of view, the reaction from the public here has been awesome".

The world rugby great will celebrate his birthday on Wednesday, 12 July, and, as a member of the only Lions team to beat the All Blacks in 1971, he says he could think of no better way to celebrate his landmark.

For those involved with the All Blacks, Eden Park is a great place to play, but they realise their record there is really just a statistical quirk.

The picture can be more nuanced and, in these pages last week, two-time Lion Scott Hastings made an eloquent and reasoned defence of Gatland.

"They will be nice things at that stage of your life, but not right now".

I reiterate, gamesmanship will be the difference tonight. I would argue that the last few weeks have shown that the Lions expand the boundary of the game in the four home unions more than anyone or anything else.


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