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Monday Jul 13, 2020

Sexton's half-time speech helped turn the tide in that epic third Test

While it wasn’t a winning tour to New Zealand for the British and Irish Lions in 2017 – the triumphant 1971 trip remains the last time the tourists secured a series victory – it was certainly one for the history books.

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Almost as memorable have been the Lions documentaries, which first started in 1997 during the successful tour of South Africa. These have given fans and onlookers some of the most iconic behind the scenes footage from past tours, and the 2017 version is just as insightful.

Off the back of winning a dramatic second Test – in which Sonny Bill Williams was sent off for New Zealand – the Lions went into the final Test with a chance to snatch the series win. Trailing 12-6 at the half-time break after tries from Ngani Laumape and Jordie Barrett, the visitors were still firmly in the match, but with work to do.

Cue a forceful and motivating changing room speech from Jonny Sexton.

Sexton is known to be an inspiring force during the half-time break, most notably giving Leinster the “Liverpool 2005” talk which led his side to Heineken Cup glory in 2011 after trailing Northampton 25-6 at half-time.

The Ireland fly-half doesn’t mince his words and is able to command the room with ease. There’s a lot to be said about players standing up and saying the right things, and while Sexton was not the only figure doing the talking, his speech seemed to do the trick.

Whether thanks to the speech or the circumstances of such a tense Test match, the tide appeared to turn almost from the restart, as the Lions slotted a mammoth penalty courtesy of Elliot Daly.

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Another penalty from Owen Farrell levelled the scores before the England out-half and opposite number Beauden Barrett exchanged kicks in the final quarter to conclude a dramatic encounter.

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