Lions Tour: British and Irish Lions assistant coach Andy Farrell expects Johnny Sexton, Owen Farrell to shine against All Blacks

  • 30/06/2017

After falling short in the first Test against the All Blacks, the British and Irish Lions are in must-win territory if they want to keep the series alive.

The Lions have made three changes to their squad for the second Test, including promoting five-eight Johnny Sexton to the starting side, and moving Owen Farrell to the second-five.

Owen’s father and Lions assistant coach Andy Farrell insists the pair have the skills and attacking capabilities to help the Lions even the series in Wellington.

"They train a lot together and they've been joined at the hip for the past five weeks,” Farrell said.

“There has been a lot made of the axis but it is about the bigger picture and the team, having another experienced voice and eyes and ears out there to make team function.

“They are very similar, both obviously big students of the game who have won a lot of things along the way.

“More than anything it is how they make the people feel around them, the energy that they bring.

“They train a lot together, they have been joined at the hip for the last five weeks, constantly talking about rugby and they have roomed together.

“They live and breathe rugby and it will be seamless I am sure.

"It's about the combination of the whole team - having another voice, another vision out there so that it's not all on the No.9 and No.10."

After falling short in the first Test, the Lions have spent the last week reflecting on the number of missed opportunities in the match and taken ownership for the individual mistakes made.

The tourists have only won one series against the All Blacks and Farrell is expecting a much-improved Lions side as they look to avoid their eleventh series defeat to the World Champions. 

Andy Farrell with Owen Farrell.
Andy Farrell with Owen Farrell. Photo credit: Getty Images

“We have had a lot more time to reflect, review and put to the bed the first Test and taking the learning from it and move onto this one.

“The boys, it has been good to see a real ownership in what they want to achieve and they have done that really well.

“It is about character for us this week, it is about manning up and putting everything on the line because it is that situation isn’t it? It’s do or die for us.

“These guys are a little bit hurt, in the way, the manner of the game and we will see what we are made of this week.

“After the game, there is a sense of we let that one slip, we let them off the hook and hopefully we have learned that lesson and can give a better account of ourselves this week.”

Farrell is expecting the All Blacks to play a very similar style of rugby which saw them win the first Test, but is also admitted they have to be ready for all outcomes.

“They did an excellent job in doing that, it was not just Sonny Bill (Williams), everyone in the team that played a direct game.

“If I just concentrated on one player or one way of playing that the All Blacks did last week then I would be a fool.

“Because they are the masters at not doing the same thing twice, albeit physicality will still be a part of anyone’s game in a Test match of this magnitude.

“It will take five different twists and turns along the way in the game and we have to be able to manage that on the hop.”