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Dublin: 7°C Tuesday 20 April 2021

All Blacks skipper ready to adapt to whatever the Lions and Wellington have in store

‘Mate, if it turns out it’s different then we have to adapt on the run out there on the field.’

Image: Photosport/Grant Down/INPHO

NEW ZEALAND CAPTAIN Kieran Read says his team’s approach to this weekend’s second Lions Test will be unchanged, but is confident the All Blacks can adapt to whatever’s thrown at them.

Lions head coach Warren Gatland has, for a second week running, made some surprising selection calls including the deployment of Jonathan Sexton in tandem with Owen Farrell and a recall for tour captain Sam Warburton.

Read shrugged off the suggestion that the picks were surprises referencing the Lions’ right to use their squad and promised that he and his team-mates would be able to make any on-field tweaks needed.

“To be honest we won’t change how we want to play,” says Read, before admitting that the woeful weather forecast for Wellington might be the thing to alter his thinking.

“We just have to subtly operate things and we’ve got a gameplan that we feel is right for how we feel the Lions are going to play. Mate, if turns out it’s different then we have to adapt on the run out there on the field. Conditions play a part in it as well so we have to adapt to those too.”

“It points that way (to more kicking to suit the conditions). The weather is out of our control but it will be windier and wetter than last week so I think you can’t just expect to turn up and throw the ball around in those conditions – you have to earn the right to win territory. We will see what happens tomorrow.”

As for whether the tourists can build on some promising aspects of last week’s performance and bridge the 15-point gap that appeared between the sides last week, the 31-year-old is prepared for that too.

“It is part and parcel of a series. You can’t just roll out the same gameplan as you had in the first game, you have to adjust and adapt to what is presented your way. Both teams have done that – if anything it is going to be even more physical tomorrow. I cannot wait for that battle. There will be slight changes so we will have to be good enough to pick out what they are and utilise that to our advantage.”

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Kieran Read celebrates with Beauden Barrett after Rieko Ioane scored their third try Source: James Crombie/INPHO

With vice-captain Ben Smith out of this Test with concussion, there is no recognised experienced captain to take over from Read if he needs to leave the pitch tomorrow. The Crusader, who took over the mantle after Richie McCaw’s retirement, name-checked his half-backs and Israel Dagg as ready-made leaders, but with Sam Cane, Sam Whitelock and Brodie Retallick alongside him in the pack, he probably won’t need to look far for an understudy.

I’ve got a good bunch of men around me and so I’m not too sure, there’s probably a few guys putting their hands up if I go off.”

“Beaudy will step up and drive us around the field. Aaron Smith as well as one of the backs, and we’ve got leaders across the whole pack. It’s not a worry about who’s going to step up and use their voice. Izzy (Dagg) has played over 50 Tests and coming in at fullback we need to use him and use his eyes at fullback as he can see things that are slightly different to us in the front line.”

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