Woodward: Lions pack must perform

Sir Clive Woodward has laid down the law to a British & Irish Lions pack that must bare its teeth in pursuit of Test series salvation against the All Blacks. [more]

Lions Australia Tour 2013

Sir Clive Woodward has laid down the law to a British & Irish Lions pack that must bare its teeth in pursuit of Test series salvation against the All Blacks.

Woodward has drafted in seven new faces following last Saturday’s first Test defeat in Christchurch, but it is up-front where the series could either be decided at Westpac Stadium or taken into an Auckland decider.

The Lions were out-gunned, especially in the line-outs, six days ago, and Woodward knows there cannot be a repeat performance.

"It is international rugby, and when you are playing any of these top teams – New Zealand, Australia, whoever – if your front-five do not win you quality ball, it is very difficult to win," he said.

"The front-five have to turn up, or we won’t win. It is critical – you can’t play without the ball.

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"If we get our basics right – our scrum, our line-out – and we have some ball and we really play, then we can beat New Zealand. It’s just been a long week, and I see it as a second opportunity.

"The team last weekend had an opportunity, they didn’t take it and I had to make changes. It would have been wrong to give the whole team a second chance, we had to freshen it up and liven it up.

"You can’t whinge and moan, you have got to play the game and come off with more points than them.

"I believe we can win. There has been a lot of negatives in the media all week, which we understand, but it has happened before to winning Lions teams. They lost the first Test badly in 1989, but then won the next two Tests."

Woodward admitted the Lions are "in a corner," knowing that defeat this weekend would end their Test series hopes, but he also paid tribute to new skipper Gareth Thomas.

"We just played so badly, and I think the scoreboard flattered us in the end. You knew there was something fundamentally wrong, so it gives you a chance of changing it," Woodward said.

"It is a complete one-off. When I have been in these situations before in games you have to win, there is no second chance in terms of Lions tours and World Cups.

"Gareth Thomas has done a fantastic job. He’s been immense this week, coming in for Brian (O’Driscoll) and moving it all very much on to the front foot. I believe people will see a different Lions performance.

"We are in a corner, let’s not underestimate this, and you need strong leadership. Gareth has just been outstanding, and you would want to be in a corner with him.

"I just really hope for all the spectators, here and at home, that we produce a fantastic game of rugby. That was the most disappointing thing last Saturday.

"Yes, you want to win, but you also feel it is part of your remit to make sure we produce a real occasion. I believe we will totally front-up, especially in the front-five."

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