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O'Brien and Itoje set to lead Lions' charge

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Lynn McConnell     30 Jun 2017     Getty Images

The Lions had been guilty of giving the All Blacks too much respect during the first Test, O'Brien said.

"They won [the physical] side of the game – there's no point in saying any different. So that was obviously a big area for us that we let ourselves down. We drew a line in the sand during the week and spoke about what way we need to go about our business this week, and it's about actions now," he said.

"They put us under a lot of pressure and they certainly were on the money in terms of the physical effort they put in."



The Lions were undeterred and were looking forward to the opportunity to 'go out and play and express ourselves again', he said.

"There's a disappointment from last week that we want to try and get over pretty quickly this weekend.

"We created a few opportunities we should have finished, and we did some things in the game that we'd spoken about, and we didn't do them very well, such as our defence. We didn't put them under enough pressure," he said.

Lock Itoje has been given a starting role this week after coming on as a substitute in the first Test, the first time he had faced the All Blacks.

"It is obvious they are a talented team with good players, they work hard for one another so the intensity was at a very high level."

Itoje felt that intensity when getting on the field by which stage the Lions were trying to wrestle some momentum back.

"For us it is about making sure we are right and making sure we do what we can. I don't think we played to our potential last week, we let things slip through our hands and we will try our best this week to make sure that doesn't happen.

"I am sure you will see a response from the boys this weekend," he said.

In relation to the task he and Alun Wyn Jones face in competing with Sam Whitelock and Brodie Retallick he said they were two good talented operators who had a very good work ethic.

"The challenge is on us to surpass that, we have a good challenge in front of us, one that we have prepared well for this week and one that we will rise to this weekend.

"This is massive. We have not come here to be second best or to play second fiddle. We are going out on Saturday to do a job and get the result that we want," he said.

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