Owen Farrell has urged the British and Irish Lions to play the game and not the occasion when they face New Zealand in the eagerly-awaited first Test in Auckland on Saturday.
Farrell is already a Test Lion and has played more than 50 times for his country, won European and Premiership titles with Saracens, but the Eden Park clash looks set to move things up another gear.
“It is about us making sure that we are prepared as best we can so we can go out there and put a performance in,” said Farrell.
“It is exciting. But what you’ve got to remember, though, is not to play the occasion. It’s a game of rugby, and you have got to think about it like it is a game of rugby.
“You can’t be thinking what other people are thinking about, getting excited about external things. It has got to be about the team and what we need to do to win that game.”I am approaching it the same as any other. As a 10, you want to be adaptable.
“You obviously go into the game with a plan, but things can change pretty quickly, so you have got to be prepared, but at the same time be ready for anything.
“In attack, you want to obviously play to the space, whether that be kicking, running, passing. You have got to make decisions constantly throughout a game, so if you are making good ones throughout the game then hopefully you are doing your job right.”
Centre Sonny Bill Williams will be one of the All Blacks main attacking threats, with his off-loading skills making him a player the Lions have to stop at source.
“You have got to do your job,” Farrell added. “You don’t want to go high on him, especially me.
“Your job is to tackle him. There are adjusting defenders around you that are going to be prepared for the off-load or be able to adjust in on him and try to stop the ball.
“They are a fantastic team and they’ve got a fantastic record, especially over here. No-one is questioning that.
“All we’ve got to do is make sure that we are in the best place we can be to be able to play the game that is in front of us.”
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