Furlong braced for 'brutal' All Black backlash

Tue, 04 Jul 2017 06:27

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: British and Irish Lions prop Tadhg Furlong says he knows what the wounded All Blacks will bring to the Test series decider in Auckland on Saturday, and it's going to be brutal.

Part of the Lions team that downed New Zealand 24-21 in Wellington last Saturday, Furlong was also in the Ireland side that beat the All Blacks 40-29 in Chicago last year.

That victory, Ireland's first ever over the New Zealanders, sparked a furious response from the world champions during the return fixture in Dublin.

New Zealand ran out 21-9 victors, conceding 14 penalties and picking up two yellow cards as they bludgeoned the men in green into submission.

Furlong predicted a similar reaction at Eden Park after the All Blacks' forwards were out-muscled in Wellington. 

"I remember coming off the pitch and being absolutely shattered. I was sore for days after it," he told reporters.

"It was one of the most brutal Test matches I've played in my short career. I think everyone will expect that and try and tee themselves up for it."

While the All Blacks are renowned for their eye-catching backline, Furlong said the contribution made by their forwards was often underrated.

"I don’t think the All Blacks scrum gets the credit from the outside world, but believe me they are a very, very strong unit," he said. 

"Sometimes you're really holding on and you're scrapping to hold parity in there."

With the Lions chasing their first Test series win in New Zealand since 1971, they are looking to improve their discipline at Eden Park.

Furlong said the mood among players and fans was buoyant after the Wellington win, crediting their vocal supporters with helping them over the line.

"It was very important. It sets up a huge game this weekend.

"You see the numbers at the game, you hear them in the stand and that support carries you when the going gets tough," he said.

"Their noise lifts you and when you need a pick-up they're right behind you."

Agence France-Presse

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