Can the Lions come out of the shadows to shock New Zealand? Here's how past deciders ended

Can the Lions come out of the shadows to shock New Zealand? Here's how past deciders ended
Jonathan Sexton at the Lions press conference at The Pullman Hotel in Auckland, New Zealand, today. Pic: Sportsfile

The British and Irish Lions face a series decider for the seventh time in their history when they face New Zealand in Auckland on Saturday.

Here we examine previous tours featuring a decisive climax.

1903 - Lions lose 1-0 in South Africa

After two successive draws - the second ending in a 0-0 stalemate - the Lions entered the decider in Cape Town with the whole tour on the line. Two tries swept the Springboks to victory and inflicted upon the Lions a maiden series defeat having prevailed on all four previous tours.

1910 - Lions lose 2-1 in South Africa

There was more misery for the Lions in South Africa when their return proved equally unsuccessful despite taking the series to a decider with an 8-3 win in Port Elizabeth. Cape Town was the setting for their disappointment once more as Tommy Smyth's tourists were crushed 21-5.

1989 - Lions win 2-1 in Australia

The Lions' first visit to Australian shores for 19 years and their first dedicated tour of the country since 1899 teetered on the brink of disaster after a 30-12 mauling in the first Test - their heaviest defeat to the Wallabies. Significant changes were made - among them the selection of Jeremy Guscott, Rob Andrew and Mike Teague - and successive wins were reeled off.

1993 - Lions lose 2-1 in New Zealand

The last Lions tour of the amateur era was a case of what might have been. A dubious late penalty - one of several contentious refereeing decisions - cost them victory in the first Test. Seven days later Wellington proved a happier hunting ground in the shape of a 20-7 victory and a place in Lions legend awaited Gavin Hastings' men, but they were well beaten 30-13 at Eden Park - the arena for Saturday's showdown.

2001 - Lions lose 2-1 in Australia

The Lions dared to dream after crushing the Wallabies 29-13 in the first Test, Brian O'Driscoll and Jason Robinson running in memorable tries, but they unravelled a week later with Nathan Grey's elbow on Richard Hill that ended the influential England flanker's series acting as the catalyst for a 35-14 loss. The Sydney decider was a nail-biter that saw the Lions botch a late attacking line-out to succumb 29-23.

2013 - Lions win 2-1 in Australia

The rivals were hard to separate over the first two Tests, the Brisbane opener lit up by George North's Jonah Lomu-esque try. The build-up to the decider centred on Warren Gatland's contentious decision to drop O'Driscoll for Jonathan Davies, a call that was in part justified by a resounding 41-16 triumph which avenged the heartache of 12 years earlier. The Lions were magnificent in one of their finest performances.

Sean O'Brien during today's Lions training session at the QBE Stadium in Auckland.
Sean O'Brien during today's Lions training session at the QBE Stadium in Auckland.

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