The All Blacks had the job half done last week, the British and Irish Lions squared the ledger in Wellington, but the big prize remains up for grabs.
That’s how Lions skipper Sam Warburton sees the situation as his side heads into Saturday’s series decider at Eden Park.
Recalled to the starting XV, flanker Warburton was a nuisance at the breakdown for the 14-man All Blacks all night, and made 10 tackles to boot.
Yet the Welshman told reporters he didn’t even celebrate after the final whistle of the Lions’ 24-21 triumph in Wellington – it was simply a case of evening up the scores before Saturday’s final showdown.
“I’m glad we’re taking it to Eden Park next week but I’d genuinely only be happy if we get that Test series win,” Warburton said.
“We’ll have to be prepared for a tougher encounter next week, we’ll be against 15 blokes most likely and have to step it up again.
“You can talk all the tactics in the world but sometimes it’s just down to a bit of desire to get off your line and win some shots, some collisions.”
In a congested global rugby calendar, the Lions brand has come under renewed attack in recent months, particularly from club bosses in the UK and Ireland who are loath to lose their best players without compensation.
Warburton hoped victory against the world’s best Test side would silence some of those critics, and restore legitimacy to the red jumper.
“Regardless of what happens, we’re going to definitely come back with some credibility in the Lions going forward, keeping the reputation of that – but I’ll only be happy if there’s a series win,” the 28-year-old said.
“For players, we can’t stress enough how important the Lions is for us personally, it’s the absolute pinnacle of our careers.
“Every single player in the British Isles will say they want it to happen – you do feel that responsibility when you play (and) to get wins in Test matches, it keeps hopes alive for the fans as well.”