British and Irish Lions can leave legacy by beating New Zealand, says Warren Gatland

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Warren Gatland: Lions have chance to so something special
New Zealand v British and Irish Lions - third Test
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland Date: Saturday, 8 July Kick-off: 08:35 BST
Coverage: Follow the decisive third Test live on the BBC Sport website from 07:30 BST

The British and Irish Lions have a chance to "leave a legacy" by winning Saturday's decisive third Test against the All Blacks, says head coach Warren Gatland.

Victory for the Lions at Eden Park would seal a first series win over New Zealand in 46 years.

And Gatland says his side are just "scratching the surface" in terms of its potential.

"We have got another level in us, and it's incredibly exciting," he said.

"We think this team has got better and better and will get better on Saturday.

"I think you should all be excited about what should be one hell of a Test match."

While Gatland says the players cannot become "emotionally too involved", he says they will be aware of what is stake as the Lions look to match the achievements of the greats of 1971.

"They have an opportunity to leave bit of a legacy don't they? 11 tours of New Zealand and the Lions have only won here once," Gatland added.

"It's a chance to do something special. You have those moments in your life and you don't want those moments to pass you by.

"It's a pressure that you relish. It's why you do all those hours of preparation, because you want those big moments in sport.

"I have no doubt that tomorrow and Saturday the players will start thinking about that."

'We haven't spoken about them'

Gatland has named the same 23 for Saturday's Test, and says he was not tempted to make any changes from the squad that won in Wellington, once all the players were declared available for selection.

But while the All Blacks assistant coach Wayne Smith says his side "do a lot of work" on the opposition before a game, the Lions have taken a different approach this week.

"We haven't even spoken about them," Gatland said.

"It feels a little bit ironic, a bit strange, almost like a role reversal.

"When you play against the All Blacks, you try to stop all their threats and you pick a team to do that, but we have just concentrated on ourselves and our game, and going out and doing what we've been doing and what's been successful for us.

"There hasn't been too much chat about individuals in their team. We didn't speak today about the All Blacks team that was selected."

'I'll probably be on a beach'

Gatland says Saturday's third Test against the All Blacks is not "career-defining" for him as a coach, and has hinted he may retire following the Rugby World Cup in 2019.

He is contracted to coach Wales until the end of the tournament in Japan, and has been linked with the All Blacks job following that.

"I'm pretty happy with what I've achieved in my career," he continued.

"In 2019, I'll probably finish up after the World Cup and go to the beach and maybe retire. The future will take care of itself.

"But it's definitely not career-defining - I can promise you that."

This is not 'real pressure' - Hansen

Steve Hansen
Steve Hansen says Saturday's Test decider is not 'real pressure'

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has dismissed claims there is extra pressure on his side going into Saturday's decider at Eden Park, where New Zealand have not lost since 1994.

"It's not the first time we've lost, every week there is pressure. We are expected to win every Test match, and when we win we are expected to win well. But we are only playing a rugby game," he said.

"Real pressure is giving someone CPR and trying to save their life and when that doesn't work telling their children or father or mother. That's real pressure.

"We could win, lose or draw, but we will be a better team for it. Is there any more pressure this week than last week? No, because we need to win to win the series."

The All Blacks have not lost successive matches since 2011, before Hansen took charge. And while a series victory for the Lions would be historic for Gatland's team, Hansen says it is not the defining moment for his All Blacks.

"Is the Lions series hugely significant?" he said. "Of course it is. Will it define this team? No, because there is a heck of a lot more of this story to be written. But what it will do, win, lose or draw, is it will make this team stronger."

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