Negotiate the trip's all-important middle fortnight successfully and anything becomes possible down the closing stretch.
Warburton aside, the Lions got back on track last Saturday.
"We picked a bigger squad this time round than we did for the last tour, simply because of the schedule - not just the games but the travel time and the amount of time we're going to have on the training field together".
While the Lions' victory over the Crusaders may not have been an exhibition of running rugby, the relentless intensity of the tourists' performance has forced the New Zealand public to sit up and take notice.
"But we are ready to get battle-hardened for a test match, we are still ramping it up in training because we have to be up to breakneck speed for the first test".
"I know there is every chance I might not even get involved in the first Test", Warburton admitted.
"We're still waiting on a report back on Stuart Hogg, so we'll get that later this afternoon", said defence coach Andy Farrell today. That is what touring is all about. Farrell would have been one of them with an assured showing. That applies, from Farrell's perspective, to the midweek team every bit as much as the Test side.
After Saturday night, the scrum will be an area of great contention for the rest of the tour with the set piece a core staple of the Lions' game. I would want to get out there and build on it. "We haven't seen a lot of turnovers so far".
Beneath the fixed roof of the Forsyth Barr stadium - the atmospheric modern replacement for the old, forbidding "House of Pain" at Carisbrook - the priority will be to counter the Highlanders' fast-tempo style which bears similarities to what awaits in the Tests.
"The Highlanders have scored 50-odd tries this season, averaging over four tries a game so we know the type of game that they want to play", defence coach Farrell told reporters in Dunedin after the captain's runs on Monday.
Henry said the win in Christchurch was massive in the context of this Lions tour and that foundations are being laid ahead of the test series against the All Blacks.
"We know there is stuff we can work on".
We are professional players and we take our preparation very seriously.
"It ain't about just sprinting off the line, is it?" "It's about numbers on feet and covering space".
Jared Payne gets a shot in the 15 shirt for the Lions against the Highlanders tomorrow night, while Leigh Halfpenny and Anthony Watson have also both played at fullback on his tour.
"I think the Ulster boys are getting back in to Belfast at about 8pm on July 12 and I'm getting married at noon on the July 14", he said with a smile yesterday. I'm still looking for people to grab hold of the system and take it forward. "We'll see who steps up".
"He definitely would have been an option, that's why CJ Stander is backing up again".
Three penalties from Farrell gave the visitors a 9-3 lead at the break, with Richie Mo'unga offering the Crusaders' sole response, also from the boot. However, the All Blacks have released fly-half Lima Sopoaga and risky winger Waisake Naholo back to the franchise for their showcase against the Lions.