Tuesday 28 January 2020

Conor Murray: If Lions click we can cause upset at Eden Park

Conor Murray believes the British and Irish Lions could well boast the extra-special blend required to end New Zealand's imperious Eden Park record.

Ireland scrum-half Murray hailed the All Blacks' remarkable 38-game unbeaten run at their Auckland fortress, where they were last defeated on July 3, 1994.

Murray insists the Lions have the credentials to end rugby's most daunting streak, in Saturday's first Test at that stronghold.

"We've all played at Eden Park, we know how tough it is to play there," said Murray, who will partner Owen Farrell at half-back.

"Teams have come close here and home nations sides have beaten New Zealand before - so we're drawing on that more than the Eden Park record.

"It is a really impressive record.

"But if ever there was a team that has the potential - if we click, we're excited about what we can do."

France remain the last team to sink New Zealand at Eden Park, conjuring up a last-gasp try to prevail 23-20, some 23 years ago.

The All Blacks drew their very next game after that defeat, held 18-18 by South Africa on August 6, 1994.

But since then the current back-to-back world champions have dispatched all comers for a commanding 37 straight victories.

The Lions have only won once at Eden Park, in 1959, losing seven clashes and drawing once.

The world's current most dominant force became the first side in Test history to pass 15,000 points in their 78-0 Samoa thrashing in their Lions warm-up clash on June 16.

So there can be no more daunting task than bidding to overhaul the All Blacks in Auckland.

Murray believes the Lions know their route to victory - but conceded knowing it and taking it remain separated by a wide berth.

Murray excelled as Ireland claimed their first-ever win over the All Blacks in 111 years of trying, in the superlative 40-29 victory in Chicago on November 5 last year.

The 28-year-old was also on hand when New Zealand got out of jail to edge to a last-gasp 24-22 win in Dublin on November 24, 2013.

And he has detailed both experiences to the 2017 Lions in a bid to underline just how vital it is to keep on attacking the All Blacks, a team that never relent.

"You've got to be confident and willing to play rugby against the All Blacks," said Murray, who has won 57 caps for Ireland and two for the Lions.

"I learned in 2013 in Dublin, we got quite a good lead and probably panicked and tried to maintain and hold out.

"Looking back on Chicago you've got to keep going, keep attacking, not go into your shell.

"That's easier said than done. But for me that's the main thing, just keep playing."

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