Read: All Blacks expect to beat Lions

Kieran Read says the All Blacks will embrace the challenge provided by the British & Irish Lions in Auckland on Saturday.

New Zealand have not lost a series against the Lions since 1971, and their last defeat in a match against the Lions came in 1993.

The Lions suffered a 3-0 series whitewash in 2005, but are quietly confident coming into Saturday's opener, having beaten the Crusaders and New Zealand Maori.

When asked if the back-to-back World Cup winners were feeling the pressure ahead of Saturday's match, Read said: 'There's always pressure on us. We don't mind pressure. Losing would be pretty bad, and any time we lose it's something we don't like.

'So we're prepared to go out and play our game. We know it's going to be a massive challenge, but this group as All Blacks want to take that head-on and embrace it. It's an exciting time for us.

'We'll go out there and expect to win, as probably everyone in New Zealand is going to expect us to win. But we've got to actually go out and do that. And that comes through our week, our preparation and the mindset we turn up with on Saturday.'

PREVIEW: All Blacks vs Lions (1st Test)

When asked if the All Blacks were more motivated by the fear of failure than the pleasure of success, Read insisted it was the latter.

'Most definitely not. We love winning. That is the one that drives you, but you can't always be focused on winning, you've got to be focused on what you can do as a team to get better. This is a series where winning is a high motivation, but all our focus is on tomorrow night, because we know the challenge is going to be massive.

'Obviously there's a little bit of unknown, but I'm feeling great, the body in good nick, and the emotions and adrenalin will certainly kick in tomorrow. I'm pumped for the Test match.'

Photo: David Davies/Getty Images

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Simon Borchardt