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Thomas urges Lions to look ahead

Thomas urges Lions to look ahead

Lions skipper Gareth Thomas has urged his side to move on from their first test defeat and level the series on Saturday.

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The Toulouse wing issued the rallying cry to his team ahead of the crunch second Test in Wellington. Thomas, who took over as captain from Brian O’Driscoll on Monday, says his side must forget the disappointment of the first test and look ahead to the all-or-nothing game against the All Blacks.

“We have taken the flack and we have to look forward; there is no point looking back,” he said. “These are the games you look forward to, backs against the wall, but we have a chance to put things right.”

The first test performance was widely criticised both at home and in New Zealand but Thomas admits the Lions deserved nothing from that game.

“Sometimes you realise in sport that we were not the better team. If we had won the first Test then it probably would have been unjust,” he said. “People are trying to pile pressure on us but the pressure is within the camp and from each other to perform.”

Thomas leads the side after tour Captain O’ Driscoll was hit by a double spear tackle that ended his tour after just ninety seconds of test rugby in Christchurch. The All Blacks involved have escaped punishment after the citing commissioner decided no action would be taken against Tana Umaga or Keven Mealamu. Thomas played on the wing in the 21-3 defeat on Saturday but has been moved to centre for this weekend’s contest. The switch doesn’t worry the Wales star however, who does have limited experience at centre for club Toulouse and Wales: “They way rugby has gone in the last five or ten years, it doesn’t really matter what number you have on your back.”

The switch is one of eleven changes made by Sir Clive Woodward as he tries to erase the memories of the disappointing display in Christchurch, and Thomas is calling for his side to stand up and be counted in what for many will be the biggest game of their careers.

“There are big changes, some forced through injuries, and the players coming in like Shane Williams, Gavin Henson and Ryan Jones have proved that they are good enough to go out on Saturday and play in a Test match,” he said. “Come the end of the eighty minutes, the guys will have to ask themselves if they played their part.”

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