RARING TO GO: All Blacks ace Aaron Smith. left

And heading into Saturday’s series decider, Gatland knows the world champions will be ready to go to war to win the series.

Gatland says: “Yes, we have poked the bear”

If he needed any confirmation of this, New Zealand lock Brodie Retallick says: “Right now there’s more pressure within the group. It’s do or die, now or never, I suppose.

“It would be good just to go to Saturday right now and not have to bother about the rest of the week.

“But we’ll build well, and there are a few things we didn’t get right on attack that we’ll get sorted.

“There’s a lot riding on it.”

Scrumhalf Aaron Smith is raring to have a go at the Lions and adds: “It’s what you play rugby for, these big games.

“I could play today, that’s how ready I am.

“These are the ones you remember and it’s going to be a long week in prep but it’ll all be worth it if we get the processes right to go out and play our brand of footy.”

Of the Lions, Smith adds: “They really fronted up on defence and closed up that tight space.

“We didn’t react well to that. There was actually a lot more space than we thought and we maybe didn’t adapt as well as hoped.

“We usually find a way and our bench comes on and finishes really strong but that’s all about learning.

“There are opportunities there and they’ll be there Saturday so we’ve got to be good enough to see them and take them [to win the match and series].”