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Lions v All Blacks decider like a World Cup final – Jenkins

Omnisport logoOmnisport 5/07/2017 Sacha Pisani
NeilJenkins-cropped: British and Irish Lions assistant Neil Jenkins © Provided by Omnisport British and Irish Lions assistant Neil Jenkins

British and Irish Lions assistant coach Neil Jenkins compared Saturday's tour decider against New Zealand to a Rugby World Cup final.

The Lions – seeking their first series win in New Zealand since 1971 – and world champions the All Blacks will go head-to-head in the third and final Test at Eden Park.

Hosts New Zealand were upstaged by the Lions last week, beaten 24-21 in Wellington after Sonny Bill Williams was shown a red card.

And Jenkins knows there is everything to play for in Auckland as the Lions look to condemn the All Blacks to back-to-back defeats in New Zealand for the first time since 1998.

"Look, we know what's coming. They're incredibly good. We know that. Very rarely do they lose and very rarely do they lose at home so everything is on the line," Jenkins told reporters on Wednesday.

"It's the series decider, World Cup final if you like. Whatever you want to label it as, it's a humungous game. We know how hard it's going to be.

"We've got to focus on ourselves. If we can play the way that we want to play and implement our game plan on the All Blacks, well it's going to be an incredibly ... close game. There's no doubting that."

The Lions have enjoyed plenty of rest following their series-levelling victory in Wellington, spending some down time in Queenstown.

During that period, Warren Gatland's side were free to do whatever they wanted, including drink alcohol, and Lions head of strength and conditioning Paul Stridgeon defended the decision.

"We've not needed to put anything like that [alcohol ban] on the players," he said. "The players made their own rules at the start in conjunction with the coaches. They have been very professional and are all very switched on.

"We had a social night early on in the tour but that was very helpful for bonding. The tour has been very arduous for the boys. Every day off we've had, we've travelled. The boys haven't had any proper days off, so it's great to have the boys refreshed.

"The boys have been enjoying some activities, a bit of mental and physical recovery."

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