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Lions' pride stung by first Test battering

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 1/07/2017 Daniel Gilhooly

British and Irish Lions skipper Sam Warburton says his teammates' faces were as red as the team's jersey after the first Test.

Losing by 15 points to the All Blacks was nothing to feel overly bad about.

Being pummelled in the physical battle was a different story, Warburton says.

It stung. It irked. It has created a latent desire to respond with a pride-restoring performance up front in the second Test in Wellington, Welsh flanker Warburton says.

"You play rugby because you enjoy the physical side, so when you come off second best there it does hurt you as a player," Warburton said.

"Sometimes you lose games with the bounce of a ball or a controversial decision perhaps.

"We were beaten pretty well from a physical point of view and that is pretty disappointing."

Warburton, who has slowly returned to fitness throughout the tour after suffering an ankle injury in the opening game, has been heartened by those around him this week.

His teammates, he says, are all winners with their clubs and countries who have handled countless big games in Europe.

"You see the group of 23 and it's such a classy group of players," he said.

"Those guys can take a lot of pressure and it won't faze them."

"From a physicality point of view, New Zealand were excellent last week. You give away penalties because they exerted pressure on us.

"It's handling that pressure a lot better than we did last Saturday."

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