Bernard Jackman praises Andy Farrell's ability to adapt his defensive system

The Lions kept the All Blacks try-less in the second test

BY Simon Maguire 21:30 Sunday 2 July 2017, 21:30 2 Jul 2017

Defence coach Andy Farrell. Image: ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

The Lions ability to adapt from the first test is what ultimately gave them the victory at the weekend which will take the series to a decider, according to former Leinster hooker Bernard Jackman. 

However, despite an early red card for Sonny Bill Williams, Jackman insists it was their improved defensive structure which brought them victory. 

Speaking on Off the Ball on Sunday, he said: "If you look at before the sending the off, I think the Lions corrected the main area where they struggled last weekend - that defence around the breakdown. 

"We spoke about how creative the All Blacks had been and their running lines off nine. Because of the way the Lions get off the line harder in the middle than on the outside -  there's a natural dog leg. The most impressive thing for me is that they squeezed up a lot.

All Blacks' Anton Lienert-Brown with Taulupe Faletau and Jonathan Sexton of the Lions. Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

"They were a lot narrower and they were able to make those two-man hits and control the gain-line which they weren't last week. They put more pressure on Aaron Smith. The problem last week was that he was able to run a little bit and I suppose, tease the first and second defender and put people into little half-gaps which, because of their power and their footwork, they were getting over the gain-line and the Lions were constantly going back. 

"So, they rectified that which is brilliant from Andy Farrell's point of view. I think his systems, particularly in defence, are great but it's his ability to problem solve from week to week and identify where it broke down and then how to fix it, so I think they deserve massive credit for it. 

"I also think as well that mental edge was there as well. It wasn't by coincidence that Warren spoke quickly after the first test how they were beaten up and stuff and that will leave a mark in a players' mind.

"The great thing about a test series is that you get a chance to go back against the same opposition the following week whereas in a European game, unless it's in the group stage back-to-back in rounds three and four, you actually get a chance to rectify it for a long time. 

"And the Lions did rectify it. They laid down a marker physically and that was the core difference in the performance," he added. 

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