Lions have to be close to perfection to down All Blacks - Greenwood


The British and Irish Lions will have to put in performances that are "close to perfection" in order to beat New Zealand, but the outcome of the first Test is not necessarily decisive in winning the series says Will Greenwood.

The Lions routed the Chiefs 34-6 on Tuesday in their final warm-up game, which built on the momentum from the 32-10 beating of the Maori All Blacks.

Facing the All Blacks is an altogether different task, though, and two of the three Tests take place at Eden Park - a venue where New Zealand have not lost since 1994.

Many have highlighted Saturday's contest as crucial to the Lions' hopes in the series, with England coach Eddie Jones among them.

Greenwood, who toured three times with the Lions, does not necessarily believe that is the case but was at pains to stress that the strength of New Zealand's squad means Warren Gatland's side have to build towards perfection over the coming weeks.

"[The Lions] did it in 1989 - lost the first Test and won the next two. Everyone's got a theory on it, you've just got to get to two," Greenwood, speaking courtesy of Land Rover, a Principal Partner of The British and Irish Lions Tour, told Omnisport.

"Look, there two Tests at Eden Park. They've lost twice there in 30 years, they are the number-one ranked team in the world, they've got a ridiculously deep squad. 

"It's going to take probably close to perfection but as [Vince] Lombardi said: 'You don't ever get perfection on sports field, if you chase it you get excellent'. So if they get close to perfection they've got a chance.

"They've got some great components. We've seen in the games so far that if you can put together a sort of composite 80 minutes from the four games, they'll be unbelievably competitive. 

"And that's the challenge of the tour, building, building, building so by the time you get to the Test matches, you'll never get an 80-minute performance, but once you get to Auckland can you get 65, 70 and that gives you a chance of winning."

Greenwood added that the team should not be judged purely on the result of the series and hailed the special atmosphere that comes with touring with the Lions.

"Look away from all the speculation about wins and losses, I can say as an old duffer, you don't have to win a series to have a great Lions tour," he said. 

"I know you are judged by winning or losing, but there is something special, something a little bit different about making great friends for life, with people who you've been at loggerheads with for four years. 

"And then you sort of have a four-, five-week window and you become best pals. It's a really special environment to be in."