Warren Gatland has opted for a side high on creative potential for tomorrow’s vital showdown with the All Blacks in Wellington, deploying Irish star Sexton at fly half and fellow play-maker Farrell at inside centre.
After going down 30-15 in the first Test, the Lions need to triumph over New Zealand at the Westpac Stadium to keep their hopes of a series win alive.
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Sexton and Farrell combined in the tourists’ fine victory over Super Rugby title-chasers Crusaders on June 10 and the Leinster man expects himself and England ace Farrell to harmonise as planned when the chips are down.
“I’m really excited about playing with him. I’ve always admired him,” said Sexton.
“We’ve got on great and stayed in contact since the last tour.
“I was asked whether it was the biggest challenge of my career to try to get ahead of Owen and because of the respect I have for him, I said: ‘yes’.
“He’s a world-class out-half but I back myself and hopefully I can bring something to the team this week that will get us over the line.
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“I’ve a big respect for him and we have a good relationship, so hopefully we can click and make the team play better on Saturday and level the series.”
The 31-year-old, who is Ireland’s second all-time top points-scorer, believes that he and his fellow Lions need to focus on doing the famous red jersey proud when they head into battle against the All Blacks.
📰 TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT | The Lions team to face @AllBlacks in Wellington is…#NZLvBIL details 👉 https://t.co/C4wo734l5S #LionsNZ2017 pic.twitter.com/Jd0L8TgbaN
— British&Irish Lions (@lionsofficial) June 29, 2017
Sexton said: “We need to keep our discipline but we need to show some intent, and show what it means to represent the jersey and what that jersey means, and let the people at home know there was great effort last week.
“There are just a few areas we need to clean up on but we need to show what it means and not lose as many confrontations and physical battles as we did last week.
“We try not to think like that; we try as much as we can to think about our performance and cleaning up the areas where we let ourselves down last week, and put our best foot forward for this week.
“If we play our best and take a few more chances, let’s see where that takes us – we’re pretty confident where that might take us.”