Can 2017 Lions secure defining Test win?

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The Lions face a series decider at Eden Park, just as the 1993 tourists did
New Zealand v British and Irish Lions – third Test
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland Date: Saturday, 8 July Kick-off: 08:35 BST
Coverage: Follow the decisive third Test live on the BBC Sport website from 07:30 BST

The Lions are 80 minutes away from a series win against world champions New Zealand that would cause ripples around the sporting world and echo in rugby folklore for decades to come.

This is the climax of the class of 2017’s existence and it will determine how they will be remembered. Everything has built to this.

After coming within three points of the tourists in the second Test in Wellington – despite playing with 14 men for most of the match – the All Blacks will be confident of revenge and victory, however.

It has been a tough, tight and enthralling tour so far, with the sides level at one-Test apiece going into the decider. I expect its final act to be the same.

Poker-face Gatland sticks with second Test side

Since a stuttering win over the Provincial Barbarians five weeks ago in their tour opener, coach Warren Gatland says his Lions side have been on a steep curve of improvement.

He spoke of the team having “another level” within them and has shown faith in the same line-up that won the second Test for Saturday’s third Test at Eden Park.

These guys deserve another crack at it.

Only a series win will do – Sam Warburton

The main question mark was over loose-head prop Mako Vunipola. He gave away four penalties and was sin-binned in an undisciplined performance.

Gatland has claimed the Saracen was unlucky, but I’m sure he will have been told in no uncertain terms to clean up his game.

The coach may have reasoned that, at this level, front-row replacements are essential as heavy legs tire towards the end of the game.

Vunipola may be just as much as a liability in the final 25 minutes as he would have been in the previous 55 minutes and the Lions would be running the same risk in the decisive phases of the game.

Second row Alun Wyn Jones and flanker Sam Warburton both returned steady, rather than spectacular, individual stats from the second Test, but their experience and consistency is keeping them in the side and, on balance, deservedly so.

Both will be key in stopping the All Blacks on the gain-line, if not before it.

Before the second Test, the coaching staff essentially questioned the qualities of their side as characters, as much as players.

Defence coach Andy Farrell said that the tourists had to “man up” and win the collisions.