Woodward: Judge us on Tests

British & Irish Lions head coach Sir Clive Woodward insists he is 'absolutely convinced' his players have got what it takes to challenge the All Blacks - despite being beaten 19-13 by the Maori. [more]

Lions Australia Tour 2013

British & Irish Lions head coach Sir Clive Woodward insists he is ‘absolutely convinced’ his players have got what it takes to challenge the All Blacks – despite being beaten 19-13 by the Maori.

For the first time in eight attempts since 1930, the Maori – marshalled brilliantly by Northampton-bound Carlos Spencer – defeated their illustrious opponents.

And it was a victory more comprehensive than the final scoreline suggests, leaving Woodward with much to ponder heading into crucial pre-first Test games against Wellington and Otago next week.

The onus now lies with England World Cup winners Jonny Wilkinson, Jason Robinson and Neil Back – who will all start the Wellington clash on Wednesday – to pick the tour up by its boot-laces.

Although skipper Brian O’Driscoll scored a superb late try, the Lions were undone by a Maori outfit superior in terms of aggression, passion, desire and commitment.

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"Coming to this country was never going to be easy, the history books show that," said Woodward.

"We will be judged on what happens in the Test matches, we won’t be judged on what happened (on Saturday). It was a probably a bit of a reality check after the first couple of games.

"(Neil) Back will play on Wednesday, along with guys like Gareth Thomas, Jonny Wilkinson and Jason Robinson. It will be a big side out on Wednesday, and we’ve got to accept the disappointment, learn the right lessons and move on very strongly.

"I am absolutely convinced, more than ever, that we have a team of people out here that can do something special in that first Test match. We’ve got the personnel here to fix a few things that we got wrong."

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