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Lions 80 minutes from ‘immortality’ in New Zealand

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    Lions need to reach ‘another level’ to win series – Jamie George
    Third Test: New Zealand v British and Irish Lions
    Venue: Eden Park, Auckland Date: Saturday, 8 July Kick-off: 08:35 BST
    Coverage: Live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and app. Listen to post-match reaction on Lions Social at 11:00 BST on BBC Radio 5 live.

    The British and Irish Lions will be 80 minutes from “immortality” when they face New Zealand in Saturday’s deciding Test, says hooker Jamie George.

    Victory in Auckland would secure only the Lions’ second series win over world champions the All Blacks, who have not lost at Eden Park since 1994.

    “We are fully aware of what is at stake,” said England’s George, 26.

    “It is going to be a fantastic occasion on Saturday and one again that we will never forget.”

    The Lions, whose only series win in New Zealand came in 1971, were comprehensively beaten 30-15 in the opener in Auckland, but edged a thriller 24-21 in Wellington on Saturday.

    That was the All Blacks’ first defeat at the Westpac Stadium in seven years, while they have not lost successive matches anywhere since 2011.

    George said: “We knew the importance of what Saturday was to get ourselves back level.

    “I have said it before and I will say it again – we cannot get carried away with the emotional side of the game.

    “We have got to make sure that physically we are on it, mentally we are on it, that we know our stuff and we can go into the game with clear heads and really attack it, because sometimes you can get overawed by the whole occasion.

    “Thinking about making history and all that, I don’t think we can think about it. We just think about play by play, minute by minute.”

    Sean O’Brien is available for the Lions after being cleared of dangerous play in the second Test.

    New Zealand will be without centre Sonny Bill Williams, who was banned for four weeks for a shoulder charge on Anthony Watson.

    Despite winning 17 England caps, George has never started a Test, yet has been in the starting XV for the Lions in both Tests on this tour under coach Warren Gatland.

    George’s parents ‘gutted’ at missing decider

    George has won three Premiership titles and back-to-back European Champions Cups with Saracens

    George’s parents will not see him in action in the deciding Test, having flown home for work commitments.

    He said: “They are gutted. They were trying to change their flights but they cannot make it.

    “I have jut said my goodbyes now and they were a little bit more teary again. I don’t think they expected me to play.

    “My parents have got to go back to work and stuff but I am sure they will be there in spirit.”

    Analysis

    BBC Radio 5 live rugby reporter Chris Jones in Auckland

    The All Blacks don’t lose very often, especially in New Zealand.

    While they were beaten by Ireland as recently as November, that was in the relative anonymity of the American city of Chicago, not in their own backyard.

    The Kiwi public is loyal, but expectant. They haven’t lost successive matches since 2011, before head coach Steve Hansen took charge.

    View the original article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/40497841

    Lose to the Lions on Saturday and the public inquest really will begin.

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