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Lions expecting Super Rugby approach from Maori

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    15 Jun 2017     Getty Images

The Lions need to be able to handle the speed of the game, and the intensity and physicality the Maori will bring to the game, he said after the side arrived in Rotorua from Dunedin.

Having lost to the Highlanders in Tuesday's game, there was a greater need to regather the side's momentum ahead of next week's first Test in Auckland.

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"We have got to pick it back up, there are no excuses, we have another tough game coming this Saturday, another tough one on Tuesday and then the one everyone will be waiting for next Saturday," he said.

"There are six games to go and a Test match a week on Saturday and we want to build momentum on tour.

"If we can replicate what we did last week against the Crusaders again, we played some good rugby, but there is fantastic rugby mixed in with some poor stuff."

Jenkins is aware of the motivation the Maori will have having seen their side beat the Lions in 2005. And with key playmakers like 2015 World Cup winner Nehe Milner-Skudder, who is on the comeback from injury, and outside backs Damian McKenzie and Rieko Ioane, there is plenty of potential in the side to maintain the pressure on the tourists.

"The Maori beat the Lions 12 years ago in a very difficult game and we know it is going to be an incredibly tough game – we just need to perform again and for a little bit longer," he said.
"The intensity and the speed of these games. We have got to be ready from the word go, I have no doubt the Maori will not be too dissimilar [to the Super Rugby sides] on Saturday and bringing a bit of physicality with it as well.

"Some of the backline, they have some pretty talented players there.

"That is no disrespect to their forwards, but as a back I am looking at that and there is no doubt they are pretty strong. We are expecting a tough physical game of rugby, like another Test match," he said.

"It is a big game for us and one I feel we certainly need to win to get some momentum with the Test match being just over a week away.

"This is my fifth tour and no matter what happens, in winning or in defeat, winning is a lot easier to get up for and follow on, but sometimes you have to get up from defeats. It's not easy, there is no hiding place," he said.

"For us it is about keeping going, the boys will keep going. Anything can happen on a Lions tour. We need to get back on the horse, go again and hopefully we will put in a big win on Saturday," he said.