Former New Zealand captain Sean Fitzpatrick believes the British & Irish Lions must triumph in the first Test against the All Blacks this summer if they are to have any chance of clinching the series.
With fly-half Daniel Carter's vision and players of the calibre of captain Tana Umaga blazing down the flanks, Fitzpatrick is expecting the hosts to edge the series 2-1.
However, he reckons the Lions have a tremendous chance to gain the upper hand in the opening fixture between the two sides.
"I think the Lions have a real opportunity to win the first Test, and they need to win that first one if they are to have any chance of winning the series," Fitzpatrick said at the Laureus World Sports Awards in Estoril, Portugal.
"I think their preparation will be excellent in terms of playing Argentina (on May 23), but it will be a real eye-opener for some of the guys who haven't toured, because it's rugby 24/7 in New Zealand.
"In contrast the All Blacks will only play Fiji, so their build-up isn't great.
"I think they will probably win that first Test and then the All Blacks will win the next two, purely because it's in New Zealand.
"I'm a huge believer that we can beat them out wide, and we've got to take them on in the forwards.
"My only concern is the intensity of the Super 12 compared to the (English) Premiership but I think we'll be able to get up to speed quick enough.
"People are talking about the number of players they are taking, but the more the better for us in terms of seeing the Jonny Wilkinsons, and the Lawrence Dallaglios and the Brian O'Driscolls.
"It will be a phenomenal tour, and it will be huge in New Zealand."