Sam Warburton has told his Lions team-mates they have no chance of beating the All Blacks unless they sharpen up their attack.
The Lions were held up four times in Saturday’s limp victory over the Provincial Barbarians, scoring just one try against a semi-pro side featuring farmers, builders and a nurse.
Next up are the Blues in Auckland, where Sonny Bill Williams is expected to return from injury, and Warburton has set a target of at least 20 points.
Lions captain Sam Warburton has warned without tries the side have no chance of success
The Wales flanker was part of the side that could only muster one try in the tour’s opener
‘If you can score three or four tries a game, you’ll give yourself a good chance,’ said the captain.
‘We realise that to play New Zealand, you’re going to have to score a minimum of 20 points.
‘We know we’re not going to win the Test series by just taking every three-point opportunity. We’re trying to work on some attacking stuff. I’m desperate to get back on the laptops and tweak things.
‘The Super Rugby sides will challenge us even more. We’ve got three weeks now to get as good as we can be. It’s how good we are for the Tests in three weeks that’s really important.’
The 28-year-old knows the side will have to go for the line at times over the three points
As part of his plan to give all 41 players a start in the first three fixtures, Warren Gatland is likely to name an entirely different starting XV for the game at Eden Park. Hooker Ken Owens is back in contention after injury, and a new captain must be appointed if Warburton is rotated.
But Warburton claimed it is too early to start thinking about the Test XV. ‘By no means will anyone have ruled themselves in or out with the one game on Saturday,’ he said. ‘After maybe three or four games, then you start to paint a pretty decent picture.
‘Players know, we’re not stupid, and after three or four games you can pencil in what the Test team will be. We’ve got two weeks now where it is a really big audition to get in that team.’
Crusaders head coach Scott Robertson will provide the Lions with a tough second game
On Saturday, the Lions will face a Crusaders side featuring All Blacks stars Sam Whitelock, Israel Dagg and Owen Franks. Head coach Scott Robertson had promised to name his strongest possible team, though talisman No 8 Kieran Read is injured. ‘Everyone would love to play,’ said Robertson.
‘It is something we are going to embrace — get excited about playing some international stars. We’ve had our best educated guess at what they’re going to bring.’
Despite having his hand in a cast, Read is expected to be named in the 33-man All Blacks squad on Thursday. But there are doubts over the fitness of hooker Dane Coles, flankers Jerome Kaino and Liam Squire, centre Ryan Crotty and full back Ben Smith.