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Last Updated: Friday, 8 July, 2005, 13:25 GMT 14:25 UK
Lions in NZ tour blog
The final match of the three-Test series between the Lions and New Zealand takes place in Auckland on Saturday.

Both sides have been forced into changes for the match, but the All Blacks will go into the game by far the happier side after winning the first two games impressively.

Join our team of fans, pundits and reporters and let us know where you've been and what you've seen.

To contribute, use the form on the right or text 'Lions' plus your message to 81111. Texts are charged at operators' standard tariffs. The service is not available from NZ.

If you want to talk about the tour generally or specific Lions issues with fellow fans, please visit our dedicated message boards.

LATEST UPDATES FROM FANS, REPORTERS, PUNDITS & PLAYERS

1214 BST: Paul & Steve, Liverpool
Twenty hours to kick-off, and we've made it as far as Hong Kong. Only a mere 5,700 miles to go! Still feeling awake, although not entirely convinced it's Friday.

1133 BST: Elizabeth Brown, New Zealand
OK, OK, we have enjoyed the Lions' tour, only because Prince William was on the scene. But why, oh why, do we have to suffer rugby every Saturday night?

0937 BST: S.L., Taupo, New Zealand
It's been a sombre day today after what had happened in London. My heart goes out to the British people and the Lions supporters who are currently in NZ. The Lions tour has brightened up our winter; we enjoyed seeing the Lions supporters in red and in camper vans stopping by in our town. I say good luck to them in this Saturday's final Test.

0838 BST: Thomas Norton, Wellington
I am 12-years-old and I really enjoyed the Lions tour. I wish that you could come here more often so the Lions could improve each time and get better. I am not very pleased about Brian and Lawrence getting injured as they are great players. I reckon that if Lawrence had not got injured against the Bay of Plenty, the Lions could have done better and maybe won the tour. Thank you Lions for having a great tour in NZ and I look forward to seeing you guys in 12 years' time.

0630 BST: Jo Vannoordt, Auckland
As an ex-Brit, I am thrilled to say congratulations on winning the bid to hold the 2012 Olympics - my daughter (a Kiwi) is also thrilled - well done!

0554 BST: Bongo, Bath, on tour in NZ
Shame on you, Lions management. We have just spent two hours with about 100 other Lions supporters outside the team hotel to take photos as they got on the bus for training. A bus was waiting, security were there, barriers were set up and the crowd waited patiently... only for the Lions team to slip out the back entrance (out of sight ) to another minivan. I wonder which spin-doctor organised this little scheme? It is ridiculous considering so many supporters have flown here at great expense to follow their team around. Extremely disappointing.

0530 BST: Sharon, Auckland
Auckland is now packed with Lions supporters ahead of the match on Saturday. The crowds are a little sombre following recent events in London, however, Auckland is trying to maintain their spirits and make them feel welcome. Hopefully the final match will be a fitting tribute and will round off the tour on a positive note for the Lions.

0457 BST: Michael, Wellington
We wear black to show support our team. This weekend we wear black to support you and your team. Our thoughts are with you.

0446 BST: Elizabeth, Auckland, New Zealand
Driving through the city in my lunch hour it was really cool to see the streets swarming with extremely well branded and identifiable Lions fans on a day when London is very much in our thoughts. It's been great having them here.

0321 BST: Paul, Madrid, Spain
This Saturday the ABs will have a little bit of Britain in new All Black,(first five-eighth) Luke McAlister, who grew up in Lancashire (the family moved when he was just four to follow father Charlie's rugby league career at Oldham). Several years later they returned to NZ. He didn't even play rugby until his teenage years.

0243 BST: Dave, Wellington
The news from London has shocked us all deeply any many of us stayed up through the night anxiously watching TV. Rugby is far from our minds except that we realise that many of the wonderful Lions supporters may have been affected by the events in the terrible images we have been seeing. When this sort of thing happens we are all British. An attack on London is an attack on us too. It is likely that there will be special arrangements for the pre-match ceremonies tomorrow. Some of us here would like the ABs to give the haka a miss for once.

0126 BST: Cam, Taupo, NZ
A lot of the Lions supporters have used Taupo as their "base" and have really enjoyed themselves. So have the local people. Everyone here has got in behind the tour and are all having a great PARTY. Thank you to all the supporters for an awesome time and maybe we will get it in return at the World Cup.

0045 BST: The real Bongo, Auckland
I agree Matt. C'mon BBC, it's really time you stopped printing Undercover Kiwi, please, please. Whoever he is he's had masses of air time and to be honest we're all fed up with him - this is supposed to be a general experiences thing but there's definitely a very nasty undercurrent with him - dig after dig after dig. Get him off, he's not welcome here!

0103 BST: Paul, BBC Sport blogger
The main body of the Lions fans has now arrived in Auckland ready for the final Test. Tuesday night's game was a nail biter for everyone. Having driven from Rotorua to Auckland and back just so that we could see a Lions victory on the tour, and with the added bonus of watching the Scottish players in the flesh, I was worried that we were going to be disappointed, but the defence was magnificent to the last, and although I was a little disappointed not to see Chris Cusiter play, Matt Dawson's performance was as good as I've seen from him in years.

Eden Park was a bit of a shock after the Cake Tin in Wellington - old, with wooden steps and a terrible crowd management system - and the presence of about 500 police at the game and the constant circling of the police helicopter with the searchlight blazing was unusual for UK fans, but we once again proved that there was no need for such heavy-handed policing as there was never even a hint of trouble, except for one very drunk local who climbed over the crowd barrier and took three steps before the marshals escorted him away.

Given the size of Auckland, its unlikely that the fans will have the same impact that they had in Wellington and Christchurch, but I'm sure that once we concentrate around the ground, the atmosphere will grow. With nothing left to play for except pride, it would be great to see the team turn over the ABs, but we've shown very little sign of being capable of sustained and successful attack, so I live more in hope than expectation. Still, we'll all be behind the team, and even if it does end as a 3-0 series win for the Blacks, we'll leave with our heads held high, secure in the knowledge that we may not have won over the Test series, but we have won over the country. Everyone loves the fans, including the incredibly one-eyed local press, so we're doing something right!





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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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