Sexton aims for strong start

07 July 2017 13:08:28 EST

Johnny Sexton says the British & Irish Lions must start well in the third and final Test against New Zealand if they are to stand any chancing of winning the series.

The Lions levelled things last week as they overcame the 14-man All Blacks in Wellington by 24-21.

Irish outhalf Sexton admits that Warren Gatland's side made hard work of beating the world champions, who had Sonny-Bill Williams sent off in the first half.

Match them in the first 10, 20 minutes and then impose ourselves on them.

Johnny Sexton

Looking ahead to the final Test in Eden Park, where the hosts are unbeaten since 1994 having won their last 37 Test matches at the venue, Sexton knows that his side cannot afford any kind of false start.

"We aren't getting ahead of ourselves, we know we won against 14 men and we made things tough for ourselves at the start of the second half," Sexton cautioned.

"We need to match them first and after that find another way to beat them.

"They will be hurting after losing, they don't lose too often so they will be hurting. Match them in the first 10, 20 minutes and then impose ourselves on them."

The Lions are 7/2 to win at Eden Park, with Steve Hansen's side 1/5 to secure a 2-1 series win.

Sexton, 31, knows this is likely to be his last start in a Lions shirt and while he freely admits there will be nerves, the Leinster No.10 says there would be more concern for any player that isn't nervous ahead of such a momentous occasion.

"I struggle sometimes with the nerves but this is once-in-a-lifetime stuff, so you have to treasure it," added Sexton.

"Potentially it's your last in a Lions shirt as you don't know what is down the line.

"You try and control the nerves the best you can and use them to your advantage. If you weren't nervous I would be pretty worried."

Sexton can be backed at 6/1 to score a try at any stage in the third Test between the Lions and New Zealand.

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