Lions backs coach Rob Howley has challenged his "test match animals" to produce a "do or die" performance to allow the Lions to make rugby history by clinching a 2-0 test series triumph over Australia in Melbourne tomorrow.
Howley was the 2001 Lions scrum half when they lost the second test in Melbourne having led 11-6 at half time and the Wallabies won that match 35-14 and the deciding test in Sydney a week later. If the Lions fail tomorrow it will come down to another final test in Sydney.
Howley is refusing to think about the potential joy of a series triumph and said:"If you dare to dream it turns into a nightmare. What lingers in my memory from 2001 is never having the opportunity again because they don't come around very often. This is going to be one hell of a test match with the opposition backs against the wall and they are a wounded Wallaby, prepared to play high risk rugby.
"But, we have test match animals who understand what is required. No one deserves a test series win more than Brian O'Driscoll and he spoke very passionately to the squad and said that we have to be ruthless and clinical. This jersey demands having no respect for your body and Brian's message was to make sure we have no regrets. It's do or die."
Wonder wing George North, who scored a brilliant solo try in the first test 23-21 victory, today promised not to taunt Will Genia as he did when crossing for his try in Brisbane and has apologised to the Wallaby No9. North said:"I can't explain what I did because I got caught up in the emotion. I feel horrendous for doing it, but I have taken the criticism on the chin. Rugby is a Gentleman's game and I know I was out of line and I have taken a lot of stick from the boys."
The Wallabies preparations have been hit by the International Rugby Board's appeal against captain James Horwill's "not guilty" verdict after he was cited for stamping on Lions lock Alun Wyn Jones in the first test. However, Horwill insists he is only concerned about tomorrow's match despite a likely ban from the third test in Sydney.
"I have played 130 professional rugby games and I've never been cited once, never attended any judicial hearing, so it was a complete accident," said Horwill ."Unfortunately, accidents happen in rugby, it's a contact sport but there was no intent or malice from me to do anything.
"I got a very fair hearing the first time and I expect it to be no different come the second time. I don't know too much about it, I have been focused on the game and once the game's finished I'll have a better look at it."
Additional reporting: ReutersReuse content