Rugby Union: We Will Give Tour of Hell a Happy Ending Says STEVE THOMPSON; 3RD TEST CRUNCH Lions Desperate to Avoid Humiliation

The Mirror (London, England), July 9, 2005 | Go to article overview

Rugby Union: We Will Give Tour of Hell a Happy Ending Says STEVE THOMPSON; 3RD TEST CRUNCH Lions Desperate to Avoid Humiliation


Byline: Alex SPINK reports from Auckland

A MINUTE'S silence before today's game will remind the British and Irish Lions there are more important things in life than a game of rugby.

But vice-captain Steve Thompson insists that it won't lessen the desire of the team to finish a wretched tour on an upbeat note and avoid becoming the worst performing Lions for 22 years.

"We need to finish with a big performance," he said. "I can go home having had an awesome experience. I've learned a lot as a player and as a person.

"But the record books won't reflect that. History will judge this tour on the Test series. That was our big target and we failed to hit it. It's going to dig at us forever because only Lions tours that win are remembered.

"But at least if we can win this game we'll have something positive to take away with us from the series. That's our focus. We can't change the outcome of the series but we can influence the way we feel leaving New Zealand."

Thousands of miles from home the Lions squad had a dreadful feeling of helplessness as the awful events in London unfolded on Thursday.

"We were stunned and deeply saddened watching the news," said coach Andy Robinson. "I thought back to September 11. It does become quite frightening."

They had felt helpless before, namely on the last two Saturdays when the All Blacks took them apart in the first couple of Tests to tie up the series inside eight days.

That, of course, was a very different sort of feeling. However, it has to be their point of reference this morning as they attempt to avoid a 3-0 'Black-wash'.

Backs coach Eddie O'Sullivan said: "This team wants to prove they are good enough to win a Test match in New Zealand. …

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