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Momentum crucial for first Lions Test

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 23/06/2017 Angelo Risso

Early-series momentum is on the line when the All Blacks take to Eden Park against the British and Irish Lions on Saturday night.

In the first of three Tests, the series won't be won or lost - but the side that can build up a head of steam will be hard to stop in later Tests.

"There's been plenty of occasions in sport where people have come from behind to win, so it's not the end of the world - but it does give you momentum, as long as you keep your feet on the floor," All Blacks boss Steve Hansen said.

"It's pretty important for both of us, there's nowhere to hide."

Hansen said his All Blacks were approaching the first Test in Auckland methodically, and trying to keep a lid on excess enthusiasm.

With the Lions arriving on Kiwi shores just once every dozen years, he called on his troops to embrace the once-in-a-career experience.

He had plenty of faith they could get the job done.

"Excitement's good - loose excitement is not," Hansen said.

"But I don't detect that we're loose, I detect that we're really looking forward to what's coming at us, and we know it'll be a massive challenge.

"Really the only difference from our point of view from a Rugby World Cup is that obviously that comes around every four years - so we're excited about that - but the Lions come every 12 years, and it's not a knockout.

"We've got to perform over three matches to get the result."

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