Lions snarl? New Zealand expects

The 31-year-old who is making his return to competitive action afterbreaking a thumb in April, said that it is considered a shock when the side does not win a match.

“Everyone in New Zealand expects us to win and we have to go out there and do that. It doesn’t just happen,” he said.

The All Blacks warmed up for the first Test at Eden Park with a 78-0 destruction of Samoa on 17 June.

Twelve tries were scored as they racked up 50 points in the second half. Read, who will win his 98th cap onSturday, said the Lions Test would be a different prospect.

“Whoever dominates the set piece, ruck area will have a strong chance of winning the game,” he said

Historically, the force is with the All Blacks. The hosts have won 10 of the 11 series since the inaugural tour in 1904. The statistics make grim reading for the Lions: played 38, won 29, drawn three, lost six.

“There’s always pressure on us and we don’t mind pressure,” said Read. “Every time we lose it is something we don’t like so we’re just prepared to go out there and play our game.

“We know it’s going to be a massive challenge and this group of All Blacks, we want to go out there and take that head on, embrace it.”


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