Israel Dagg is set to be the All Blacks fullback for the duration of the season after Ben Smith suffered another concussion last Saturday night. Dagg has been preferred over first-five Beauden Barrett and is hopeful to remind selectors that he was once the number one fullback.
It's an opportunity that this Ngāti Kahungunu All Black thought would never come.
Israel Dagg says, "It's a good opportunity at the back, we've got some pretty exciting players outside me, and inside me. For me, it's just nailing my role throughout the week, and then come Saturday, nailing my role and just worrying about my job, and the boys will worry about there."
Ben Smith will not return to the All Blacks even if he is deemed fit. Hansen has decided to play is safe.
Steve Hansen says, "we're just going to take our time with him and get him back where we need him to be."
Dagg says, "Obviously, it's a big test, big series for the All Blacks. But at the end of the day, he's got two little kids, a beautiful wife."
Dagg knows that a loss here will put the pressure on the All Blacks, which is why winning is imperative this weekend.
"This is going to be make or break for them, and for us as well. We know that, and they're trying the combinations. I'm looking forward to Saturday," says Dagg.
With all the drama from this week, Steve Hansen know that it could have easily been the All Blacks trying to level the series.
Hansen says, "It's about two teams playing a test match. Last test was a beauty. With a little bit of luck, and little bit of finish, they could have won the Test match."
The Lions have a modest record in Wellington wining two encounters against the All Blacks. The visitors are hoping to add another win to keep the series alive.