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'These are the ones you remember' - Aaron Smith is well up for this weekend's Lions decider

The fired-up All Blacks star “could play today”.

AARON SMITH IS relishing the big occasion of a series decider between New Zealand and the British and Irish Lions in Auckland on Saturday.

The Lions kept their hopes alive with a memorable 24-21 success in Wellington at the weekend, capitalising on Sonny Bill Williams’ first-half red card and fighting back from 18-9 down midway through the second period.

Steve Hansen and the rest of the All Blacks camp had few complaints with the defeat at Westpac Stadium, which ended a 47-match winning run at home, dating back to 2009.

But with the series perfectly poised heading back to Eden Park – where the world champions won the opener 30-15 – scrum-half Smith is raring to get stuck in.

“It’s what you play rugby for, these big games. I could play today. I am ready to go,” Smith said.

“But it is about building the week and the whole experience. These are the ones you remember.

“It’s in our hands about what we can do this Saturday. We were here a couple of weeks ago, this hotel is a second home to us. Auckland always puts on a good show, and it is just about building the week.

“It’s 1-1. We can’t look back. We have got to look forward and turn up with the best attitude we can.”

As a potential replacement for the suspended Williams, who saw red for a shoulder charge to the head of Anthony Watson, the All Blacks have called up Highlanders centre Malakai Fekitoa.

“I saw him at breakfast this morning, and it was a really good thing to see, just how happy and excited someone is to be back. You could see the grin and happiness in his face. It’s really good to have him around.

“He doesn’t say much, but through his facial expressions and body language, you could see he was really happy to be in the house.

“He is a very physical player, very confrontational,” Smith said. “He will go hard, do his job really well and also probably if he gets an opportunity, maybe there is a bit of a no-fear attitude coming in. He knows what he has to do.”

There’ll be a ‘bit of edge’ in Lions decider, admits Brodie Retallick

Analysis: The defensive passage that drove the Lions to their Wellington win

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