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Lienert-Brown determined to emulate the class of 2005

 

By Jack de Menezes

After all the talking, the 12 years of build-up and the war of words between Warren Gatland and Steve Hansen that will undoubtedly intensify over the next five days, it's Test week, and the All Blacks believe they too have something up their sleeve that will prove to be the downfall of the British and Irish Lions' biggest strength.

The wins over the Crusaders and the Maori All Blacks have been based around the defensive line speed that the Lions have shot out with to confront their opponents, giving them little space to work with and nullifying the chances to score points from.

The two teams that looked to be the biggest hurdles along the way to the All Blacks scored a combined 13 points, but the All Blacks will pose a completely different challenge on Saturday, having put 78 points past Samoa on Friday while keeping the Pacific Islanders scoreless.

Part of their brilliance in attack that night was the ability of fly-half Beauden Barrett (right) to bring his wide players into the game through the partnership of Sonny Bill Williams and Anton Lienert-Brown, whose ability to offload almost at will led to numerous chances as they racked up 12 tries.

The Lions will not be such a pushover when it comes to defending, though Lienert-Brown believes that they have something in the locker that they will unleash in the Test series.

"The Lions will be ready and up for it and we're just going to have to work out what we've got to do to negate it," said Lienert-Brown. "We've got a few plans in place but I'm not going to stand here and give it away."

It's a thought process echoed by Barrett.

"It's obvious that they are bringing a bit of line speed, so teams have to adapt to that.

"It is a different style of defence to what we are used to.

"It works for them."

There's a lot riding on the All Blacks to stop the Lions threat, given the 2005 side did that to great effect as they brushed aside Sir Clive Woodward's touring party.

There's an optimistic belief among northern Hemisphere fans that the same will not happen again, but there is an expectation here in New Zealand that 2017 will simply be a replica of what happened a dozen years ago.

"The memory of 2005 was seeing DC [Carter] rip the Lions apart," Lienert-Brown added.

"I guess you dream of pulling off that kind of performance out there, but first of all you've got to do your job for the team and if those things happen then they happen."

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