British and Irish Lions lock Courtney Lawes says 'arrogance' of All Blacks fans inspired them during NZ tour

Lawes was a stand-out for the tourists during their NZ tour.
Lawes was a stand-out for the tourists during their NZ tour. Photo credit: Getty

The British and Irish Lions players fed off the "arrogance" of All Blacks fans during their tour of New Zealand in June, says lock Courtney Lawes.

The England international told the UK's Daily Mail that the squad had taken plenty of motivation from their hosts' fan-base which they perceived to be dismissing them as a genuine threat to the world champions, particularly following their opening Test loss in Auckland.

After dropping that match, the Lions proceeded to win the second Test and pushed the All Blacks to the very edge in the decider, which ultimately ended in a draw.

"Being in New Zealand, we saw the arrogance that their fans have about their team. It was eye-opening," Lawes said.

"The whole nation are into rugby and things their fans and commentators and pundits said about how we play and how New Zealand play. If we'd listened to all that stuff, we'd have come home after the first weekend."

The 28-year-old made a significant impact for the tourists after being promoted to the starting line-up for the second and third Tests, and admitted the team had taken a lot of satisfaction in readdressing the balance of rugby power between the northern and southern hemispheres.

Critical to their cause was the ability to looks past the All Blacks' "aura of invincilibility".

"Any team is vulnerable. New Zealand are the best team in the world, they have been for some time and you have to respect them. But every team has their strengths and weaknesses and any team can be beaten.

"We showed people that no matter what happens, you've got a chance. You can only respect the All Blacks for so long, then you just have to face the challenge."


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