Kay welcomes tour pressure

Ben Kay is determined to seize the moment when the British & Irish Lions open their tour of New Zealand against Bay of Plenty. [more]

Lions Australia Tour 2013

Ben Kay is determined to seize the moment when the British & Irish Lions open their tour of New Zealand against Bay of Plenty.

Although it is shorter than in previous years, head coach Sir Clive Woodward describes a Lions trip to New Zealand as "the last of the great tours".

The Lions have won here just once in 10 visits and Kay is acutely aware how important it will be to take his chance to shine. 

Kay will start for the Lions on Saturday, the first of six tour matches before the first Test against the All Blacks in Christchurch on June 25.

"The great thing about this tour is that there will be a lot of pressure on the guys and they’ll only get one opportunity, which is a great grounding for what happens in the Test series," said Kay.

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"You’re only going to have one opportunity to get things right and if you take too long then we’re going to be in a world of trouble.

"If you have an absolute shocker in a game then you are right at the back of the queue for a Test spot. I’m not saying that will be the end of it, but then you’re relying on other people not to play well.

"It is a case of trying to make sure you’re at the forefront of selectors minds and in order to do that you have to perform and there is a pecking order, so moving up and down is the key to getting in the Test side."

Kay suffered a well-documented dip in form after the World Cup win in 2003 and he is not only confident that is now behind him but he feels past form will be irrelevant in determining who starts in the Tests.

"I’d say the way the selectors are talking now, everyone is on an even keel and it is up to us in that one game, that one chance you’ll get to press you’re claim," said Kay.

"I think this is different to a normal international tour. If you look at the history of the Lions people that have gone away nowhere near the Test side have suddenly ended up being the star of the Test series.

"There is no better example of that than Martin Corry who wasn’t picked in the initial squad last time round and ended up being a lot of people’s Lion of the season.

"Your pre-tour form goes out the window and it is actually about how you play on the tour.

"I felt I was playing better after my dip following the World Cup. I got the kick up the backside I needed when I wasn’t getting selected and now I’m confident in the way I’m playing.

"You’ve got to combine your fear of having a nightmare game with confidence in your own ability. Anyone knows they can have a bad game but if you think that way and don’t have confidence then you will have a shocker.

"If you’re confident then it just focuses the mind and get those slight butterflies in the week leading up to the game which is no bad thing."

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