JAMIE GEORGE insists that the British and Irish Lions must keep their emotions in check when they take on New Zealand in the series-deciding Test match in Auckland tomorrow morning.
The Saracens hooker was one of the star performers for the Lions in their thrilling victory in last Saturday’s second Test and has unsurprisingly kept his place in an unchanged side for tomorrow’s showdown.
Victory for the tourists will give them only their second ever series win over the All Blacks, but George is well aware that the Lions cannot afford to think ahead of the possibility of making history.
“I think we’re fully aware of what’s at stake,” he said. “We knew the importance if what last Saturday was to get ourselves back on level terms.
“I think it’s going to be a fantastic occasion on Saturday and one again that we’ll never forget. We can’t get carried away with the emotional side of the game.
“We’ve got to make sure that physically we are on it, mentally we are on it, we know our stuff and we can go into the game with clear heads and really attack it.
“Sometimes I think you can maybe get overawed by the whole occasion and think about making history and the rest of it. We can’t think about that, we have to think about play by play, minute by minute.”
Having been part of a Lions side who raised their game after losing the opening Test, George is expecting a similar reaction from New Zealand – but he is confident that the tourists will be able to improve again.
He added: “It’s going to be huge, you can sense the build-up already. You can already sense it among the fans and the players – there is a huge amount of excitement. It’s about taking it to another level.
“We’ve managed to level the series but we know that the All Blacks will be hurting and they’re going to come back firing.
“We made it very difficult at times with our discipline. There is a lot to move forward on to try to build some momentum going into next week.
“We need to be able to take ourselves to a place that we’ve never been before, mentally and physically. That stresses the importance of how big this week’s preparation is.”