Sean Maitland has urged the British and Irish Lions to join rugby’s immortals by inflicting a defeat on the All Blacks that will send New Zealand into mourning.
Warren Gatland’s men have defied expectations to take the series to a decider and know victory at Eden Park today would bring a triumphant conclusion to the most challenging tour undertaken in the professional era.
New Zealand-born Scotland wing Maitland, who travelled to Australia with the side in 2013, insists a Lions victory would have significant repercussions for both sides.
“If the Lions can do it... everyone is using the word ‘immortals’ and immortals are exactly what they’ll be,” Maitland said. “I’m from New Zealand and everyone has been talking about this tour since 2005 — that’s how much the Lions means to the country.
“If the All Blacks lose there will be a backlash from the public. Rugby is massive and part of the culture.”
Maitland is convinced the Lions can prevail.
“There will be extra pressure on the All Blacks after the second Test and I’m sure they’ll turn up. It’s Kieran Read’s 100th game and they’ll want to do it for him,” Maitland said. “No one has given the Lions a chance so to see them tearing it up is great. One hundred per cent they can do it, anything can happen.”