The Lions Tour promises some feisty competition on the field. But there is already a showdown of sorts happening via a unique street mural in Auckland.
Created by street artists Emily Gardner and Liam Hindley, who go by tag names Adore and GASP respectively, the mural shows an angry All Blacks captain Kieran Read bravely facing a huge lion.
The animal is not backing down, seemingly roaring angrily at Read.
Gardner, who was born in Canada but who now lives here, said she was asked to create the mural for Pocket Bar & Kitchen, in Grey Lynn, who will be showing some of the tour games.
The artwork appears on the side of their building.
Gardner, who has long held a passion for art and creativity, said before doing the work, she did not know much about rugby or the All Blacks.
"I myself learned about rugby while I was doing the mural - firstly who Kieran Read was,'' she laughed.
"Rugby isn't much of a thing in Canada, but it's always represented something very powerful to all New Zealanders.
"You channel a lot of your strength into these All Blacks. These big burly men - standing up to a lion, is a powerful image.''
Gardner started painting the piece about 9am one day, with the hopes of finishing it that night.
But when it began to rain, she knew she could not stay out drawing all day in the rain, so asked her partner, GASP, to come help.
"I painted the lion and he painted Kieran Read.''
They finished about 4pm that day and came back later that night to add finishing touches.
She said she hoped people enjoyed the artwork - her first to include an All Black.
"People have been pretty stoked [about it].
"I like really powerful images and that's what it is.''