Second Test a game to get to a cup final - Gatland


Warren Gatland has described the British and Irish Lions' second Test with New Zealand as a game to get to a cup final.

The Lions head into Saturday's clash in Wellington knowing a loss will see them suffer a series defeat having been beaten 30-15 in the first Test at Eden Park last Saturday.

Gatland has made a number of changes for the contest at Westpac Stadium, with tour captain Sam Warburton coming into the side having started the opener on the bench.

Peter O'Mahony, who skippered the side in the first Test, drops completely out of the squad, while Owen Farrell and Jonathan Sexton both start in the midfield, with Maro Itoje coming in for George Kruis at second row.

And Gatland says his squad, who were held 31-31 by Hurricanes on Tuesday, are under no illusions as to the magnitude of the second Test.

He told a media conference: "Winning on Saturday is getting to a cup final, and then it will have a cup final feel.

"It's kind of a knockout game, you lose on Saturday the series is over - and we're all pretty aware of that.

"It's a big challenge for us, as coaches and players we know that the series is on the line - they've [the players] spoken about it being the biggest match of their careers. I think we're all aware as coaches it's a massive game.

"Discipline is a key for us, making sure we don't give away soft unnecessary penalties, there were two or three last weekend that changed the momentum of the game.

"We saw that against the Hurricanes on Tuesday, couple of soft penalties that were pretty costly for us in the second half."

On O'Mahony's omission, Gatland added: "Peter's been very unlucky, he's done a great job for us in terms of the game's that he's been involved with and captaincy.

"We do have the luxury and are lucky enough that we can make choices and make changes and use different combinations."