Ken Owens: Lions need to gain early momentum in Series decider

The Wales hooker will start a Lions Test for the first time having come off the bench in the first and third matches against New Zealand in 2017.
Ken Owens: Lions need to gain early momentum in Series decider

Ken Owens

Ken Owens admits it is South Africa taking the momentum into Saturday’s final Test and it will be up to the British & Irish Lions to create some of their own at Cape Town Stadium.

The Wales hooker will start a Lions Test for the first time having come off the bench in the first and third matches against New Zealand in 2017. The tourists went into that final Test in Auckland with a head of steam having rebounded from a 30-15 opening loss to take the second game 24-21 in Wellington and a week later it was a penalty initially awarded against Owens at Eden Park but then overturned by referee Romain Poite that left the Lions and All Blacks with a drawn series.

Four years on and it is the Springboks who have rallied with a series-levelling victory, 27-9 series-deciding last Saturday, and on Thursday Owens said: "A lot of was said about momentum and winning that second Test going into the third.

“If I remember we did not start the third Test too well out in New Zealand and we built our way into the game.

"You would probably say the way South Africa finished the game the momentum is with them but we can't look back on what happened last week and we have to create our own momentum from the start.

"The way we have trained this week has been really good, the non-23 have been exceptional in the way they have prepared the boys who are starting and coming off the bench. It has been a phenomenal squad effort so for us it's about starting the game well and trying to control the early exchanges.”

Owens recalled the confusion at full-time in Auckland after the 15-15 draw when players were unsure of the series rules. The Lions confirmed on Wednesday that if the scores are tied after 80 minutes this Saturday, the game and the 2021 series will also be declared a draw but the hooker said that eventuality had not been discussed within the squad.

“It was strange at the end of the game, everybody not really knowing what was happening but they were the rules and perhaps we would have liked a decider at some point but it was a three-Test series and the spoils were even at the end of it and we had to be content with that.

“We haven’t spoken about a draw this week at all so I think that is something for you lot to discuss and mull over. For us, we are concentrating on the victory.”

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