Lions face ‘Black Lash’ but can still seal series win

Owen Farrell kicks the winning penalty during the second test of the 2017 British and Irish Lions tour at Westpac Stadium, Wellington. Picture: PA Images
Owen Farrell kicks the winning penalty during the second test of the 2017 British and Irish Lions tour at Westpac Stadium, Wellington. Picture: PA Images
Dave Wheaton and the Fareham Heathens. Picture: Neil Marshall (171152-317)

Double trouble for heroic Heathens

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Ex-British Lion Derek White, who is now living in Horndean, is predicting a brutal third Test decider between the All Blacks and the British Lions.

This is a massive game for both camps with so much at stake.

For the Lions it is a huge opportunity to earn themselves legendary status, while New Zealand will be intent on re-establishing their customary superiority.

The All Blacks hate losing and there is a lot of talk about a ‘Black-Lash!’

It promises to be a brutal encounter with no quarter given.

Last week the Lions showed that they can stand up to the physicality of the hosts, all be it against 14 men after Sonny Bill Williams had been sent off.

The situation reminds me very much of the 1989 tour in Australia which went to a decider.

That was intensely physical and this game has the potential to bubble over.

Undoubtedly, the All Blacks will be throwing everything at the Lions, who must be prepared not to take a backward step.

At the same time their discipline has to be a heck of a lot better if they want to give themselves a chance.

In the last game they gave away far too many penalties – and soft ones at that.

If they do that against a 15-man All Black side they will be made to pay.

The penalties they gave away were soft ones for offences like late tackles and going in from the side.

Although Mako Vunipola started well for a time in the second half, he became a ‘loose cannon’ and was also sin-binned.

Bringing Maro Itoje into the side made a big difference and I’m not surprised to see him to start again.

He is horrible to play against because he gets himself into positions to disrupt the opposition.

It is also good news that Sean O’Brien can play after being cited for foul play after the last game.

He was cleared of any offence and his presence makes a massive difference for the Lions.

Warren Gatland’s side can also take great confidence from the fact they outscored the All Blacks by two tries to none in the last game.

The gamble of playing Jonny Sexton and Owen Farrell paid off and the combination is sure to get better after that experience.

They showed that they are not scared to exploit the spaces wide out.

If the Lions forwards can put in another mammoth effort and give the exciting three-quarters front-foot ball then they have a chance.

That and getting the discipline right will be the key to any chance of success.

I think it is going to be an intense affair with very little in it at the end.