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Last Updated: Saturday, 2 July, 2005, 12:34 GMT 13:34 UK
Gareth Thomas column

By Gareth Thomas
Wales and Lions captain

People asked me whether leading the side out would be my proudest moment, but it was actually leading them off.

Gareth Thomas leaves the field after defeat in Wellington
I don't fear failure or losing, I fear not trying
The 48-18 second Test defeat was one tough game, we were playing probably the best team in the world and they gave us a real lesson.

Despite the scoreboard, though, I never really felt that the game had slipped away from us.

Sometimes on a rugby field you can see heads dropping and people giving up, but that didn't happen once with any one of the side.

I don't know if I'll ever get over last week's first Test defeat in Christchurch, but I can easily get over this one.

We'd made a pledge to each other that we would not make the same mistake as in Canterbury where we came off saying 'what if', and feeling we hadn't really done much.

I don't fear failure or losing, I fear not trying, and not for one minute of the 80 did the guys not try.

There were people dead out on the floor, but still wanting to get back up and into the game.

Lions fly-half Jonny Wilkinson
Thomas's team-mates, such as Jonny Wilkinson, took a battering
We set out our stall to play for each other and did everything we could to turn them over, but sometimes you've just got to stick your hand up and say you were beaten by the better team on the day.

It was a great start with my try and for 10 minutes we were really on top of them - we knew how crucial it was to lay down the challenge and show we were here to play rugby.

But the game is played over 80 minutes and you can't deny that they were better over that period.

I don't think there's much doubt that New Zealand are the best team in the world and lethal from one to 22, but I don't feel there's a big gap between the northern and southern hemispheres.

I don't want to use the fact that we're drawn from four different countries as an excuse because that's what the Lions are all about and other tourists have overcome that difficulty.

We did try a more adventurous approach this time, something that has been successful for Wales this season.

But the way Wales play has taken three-to-four years to develop and it's difficult to achieve in three-to-four weeks.

It's all about next week now, playing for the traditions of the Lions and for the badge.

I'm not leaving this country without giving everything
We're under no illusions. New Zealand played the perfect game in Wellington, but they're more than capable of repeating that performance.

I wouldn't take the field if I didn't think we could win - and neither would any of the other players.

Everyone in this tour party is from a different background, but we all play rugby because we're proud people.

We've got to go away, analyse the match, and come back with something special.

I'm not leaving this country without giving everything.




LIONS TOUR 2005

ALL BLACKS WHITEWASH LIONS




VOTE RESULTS
What was the main reason for the Lions' whitewash in NZ?
All Blacks just too good
58%
Woodward's selections
30%
Injuries to key players
6%
Squad was too big
6%
97190 Votes Cast
Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

Vote now closed



SEE ALSO
Pick your Lions XV
24 May 05 |  Lions in NZ
Lions tour venue guides
18 May 05 |  Lions in NZ
Early history of the Lions
18 May 05 |  Lions in NZ
Fixture list for Lions tour to NZ
08 Apr 05 |  Lions in NZ
Lions player profiles
25 May 05 |  Lions in NZ
All Blacks player profiles
25 May 05 |  Lions in NZ


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