Lions must win first Test to have a chance against All Blacks - Brooke


The British and Irish Lions must win the first Test with New Zealand to have a chance of winning the series, All Blacks great Zinzan Brooke has said.

Already underdogs to beat the All Blacks in the three-match series, anticipation of an upset will only have decreased following a start to the tour that has seen them lose two of their first four games.

Warren Gatland's men have lost to Blues and Highlanders, though they did overcome unbeaten Super Rugby leaders Crusaders 12-3.

And Brooke, who won the 1987 Rugby World Cup with New Zealand and played for the All Blacks the last time the Lions beat them in a Test match in 1993, believes a strong start is pivotal to any hope the tourists have.

Speaking at the TISSOT Boutique in London, Brooke said: "I think they'll [the Lions] be competitive. Do I think they're going to win the test series? No.

"But if the British and Irish Lions win the first Test match, I think the British and Irish Lions will win the series. So... don't count the Lions out.

"The British and Irish Lions have to 100 per cent win the first Test. If they win the first Test, they've got a shot because that motivation will lift the spirit of the team.

"Because if they lose that first game, they'll go, 'let's get back on that plane'. And that will be the big thing. And if they lose the second, I can guarantee you there'll be a lot of hamstrings being pulled. There'll be hamstrings, knees, they'll be going, 'you know what? I don't need another test match'.

"That's the difference and that's the pride of the Lions, of actually making sure to keep that camaraderie together. And just one little win, just keeps that momentum, that lifeline, to go, 'you know what? We're still here, were still in the game'.

"Don't ever chuck it in. That's going to be the big test for the British and Irish Lions."

"If you want to beat New Zealand you have to make sure that the camaraderie within a group of men is very, very important.

"It doesn't matter how bad that player is, but from number 42 to number 1, being the captain, you have to have that sort of camaraderie within the group."