Lions tour: Lions look to All Blacks' Chicago struggles for inspiration

  • 24/06/2017

It's more than six months since Ireland stunned the All Blacks in Chicago but the lessons remain vivid for British and Irish Lions halfback Conor Murray.

New Zealand's only loss in their past 23 matches, it will have left a mental chink which Murray says he and his Lions teammates will be keen to exploit in the first Test in Auckland on Saturday.

Murray believes Ireland's 40-29 triumph at Soldier Field last November - their first-ever win over the All Blacks - proved an important point.

"Its something you definitely take confidence from," the world class No.9 said.

"This is a new group of players and it's a completely different task but to know that it can be done is something we're going to build off.

"We've looked at that game and certain things that we did, we'll try to implement."

For so long under Steve Hansen, the All Blacks have come out on the right side of tight Tests.

A prime example came in Ireland's previous clash with the world champions, in Dublin in 2013 when they blew a large lead to lose in the final play, 24-22.

Murray believes the Irish panicked on that occasion, something the Lions can't afford to do against the ruthless hosts at Eden Park.

"In Chicago, we kept playing and kept attacking. You've got to play your game and not go into your shell.

"You've got to be confident and willing to play rugby against the All Blacks."

Murray says another important learning ground is the 2013 tour of Australia.

They won the series 2-1 with a squad which the Munster half believes didn't pack the potential of the current group.

He says most of the tourists have experienced numerous big games in Europe, for club or country, so are used to the pressure of a big occasion.

Ending the All Blacks' 37-match winning streak at their Auckland home is the sort of challenge the Lions are relishing, Murray added.

"We've all played at Eden Park and we know how tough it is to win here.

"I think if there was ever a team that had the potential ... if we click, I would be excited about what we can do."

NZN

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