Warburton: Lions are ‘desperate’ to win the series

British and Irish Lions captain Sam Warburton says that the desire to achieve something no Lions team has done for 16 years will drive his side on to success in the three-Test battle against the Wallabies.

The Lions have not won a series since Martin Johnson’s men delivered the goods against South Africa in 1997.

Since that tour, the Lions have won two, drawn one and lost seven of their Test matches, and they were beaten 2-1 by the Wallabies 12 years ago.

But Warburton, 24, believes the desire is there to make history, starting with a win in the opening Test in Brisbane on Saturday.

“Everybody is desperate to achieve. It’s the one thing you will see in the body language of every player for every game, because none of us has achieved a Lions Test series win,” Warburton said Friday.

“It’s something you desperately want to have on your rugby CV. We’ve got Heineken Cup winners, Grand Slam winners, English champions – all these competitions, but nobody’s ticked the Lions box.

“That’s something which I think we will be pretty desperate in wanting to achieve. That’s the one thing which will be a certainty in all three matches – the players’ determination to get a result.”

In Warburton’s favour this weekend will be the fact the Wallabies haven’t played since last December and will be fielding three new caps.

History also shows that the Lions have yet to lose a Test in Brisbane, with seven successive victories stretching back to 1899.

The Lions may have lost their unbeaten tour record against the Brumbies in Canberra on Tuesday after five straight wins, but Warburton doesn’t feel that will affect morale in any way.

“The Brumbies were a well drilled outfit – physically excellent, they competed hard at the breakdown. But we had five players in the backline playing their first game,” he said.

“It was always going to be a difficult ask against the top (provincial) side in Australia. It won’t have affected our confidence – you don’t have time to dwell. If we can win the Test series people won’t remember the Brumbies game.”

The Cardiff Blues flanker has led the Lions to two weekend wins, against the Reds and the Waratahs, after overcoming a knee injury and will be looking for a hat-trick at Suncorp Stadium.

“I have been thinking about this for quite a while, how it might feel. But I won’t truly know until I actually do it,” he said.

“The last two games have been awesome, but I know it will be at another level again on Saturday.

“I have led Wales out in some pretty big games, but that will be blown out of water by the Lions, which is the ultimate pinnacle in rugby – I’m very proud to be doing it.”

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