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Friday 22 September 2017

Lock Retallick is ready to land knockout blow in round three

New Zealand's Brodie Retallick during a press conference at the Heritage Hotel, Auckland. Photo: PA Wire
New Zealand's Brodie Retallick during a press conference at the Heritage Hotel, Auckland. Photo: PA Wire

Brodie Retallick has been on the losing end of all his international arguments just three times from 63 tests.

The 2014 World Player of the Year is not familiar with the feeling of emptiness in the black shirt. Of course, he wasn't there when Ireland shook up the world of rugby in Chicago last November.

Moreover, the return of the big man at The Aviva was instrumental in the All Blacks exacting swift revenge.

"It is never good to lose. I have been lucky enough that hasn't happened a lot throughout my career yet," he said.

The Lions were able to match New Zealand physically and put their backs under pressure.

"It is frustrating that we didn't get our stuff right and put them under pressure.

"I guess there is a little bit of anger in there," he said.

"Right now, we are probably feeling a little bit more pressure in the group.

"It's do or die. It's 1-1. It's now or never," he stressed.

"It would be good to go to Saturday right now and not to have to worry about the rest of the week. There is a lot riding on it."

There you have it. Retallick is ready for round three and the chance to win the series and avoid back-to-back defeats for the first time in six long years.

While New Zealand have been publicly gracious in defeat, they will know they had the second test in their control and let it slip away.

Beauden Barrett's missed kicks and Sonny Bill Williams' mistimed hit was just too much to overcome.

"A lot has been said since the game happened," he said.

"What happened on the weekend is done. We can't change that result now.

"We've just got to get it right this week and nail this week."

The Lions have to go all the way back to 1971 for the last time they put New Zealand to the sword in the overall context of the series.

"We are in control of the history now," argued the 26- year-old.

"If we can go out there and do the business, then hopefully we come out on the right side."

Meanwhile, Aaron Smith has backed centre Malakai Fekitoa to deliver as a frontrunner to replace Sonny Bill Williams.

"He is a very physical player, very confrontational," said the scrum-half.

"He will go hard, do his job really well and, if he gets an opportunity, maybe there is a no-fear attitude coming in.

"He knows what he has to do."

However, Warren Gatland will have noted how The Highlander lost his head in Dublin.

Back then, the forearm to the head of Simon Zebo was a straight red card.

Frenchman Romain Poite will have to be as strong in his decisions as his compatriot Jerome Garces to ensure the letter of the law is applied when it comes to dangerous play.

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