New Zealand coach Steve Hansen questions Lions' tour schedule


The chapter on the match against Canterbury, described by Lions lock Delme Thomas as "without doubt the dirtiest game I ever played in" probably makes the most shocking reading.

Cole, who played in every game of England's recent 18-test win streak, believed the Lions have bonded well in their bid to win their first series against the All Blacks in 46 years.

Not to mention the six matches Warren Gatland's men have before stepping out in Auckland for the series opener and another against the Hurricanes prior to the second Test in Wellington.

The match against the seven-times champions will be the last Super Rugby side where the Lions face any All Blacks, who go into camp after the June 10 clash in Christchurch.

"They will go into the First Test in a good position".

Further highlighting the achievement is the fact that in the 46 years since the 1971 tour, New Zealand have not lost another home series and have beaten the Lions in 12 of their 14 meetings.

In truth, the Lions are likely to require a combination of styles in their game-plans as they target a first Test series triumph against New Zealand since 1971. The 70-year-old says that's the way he always feels when he sees a Lions touring team for the first time.

The New Zealander was the Forwards Coach in 2009, when McGeechan coached the team for the final time.

"Hopefully it resonates with a British and Irish audience, and also with a non-sporting audience, because it really is a story about more than rugby".

More news: Reaction to Trump pulling out of Paris climate agreement is overblown
More news: Rahul Gandhi says Modi government has 'use and throw' policy for farmers
More news: Illinois Lawmakers adjourn without passing budget

A private tour organised by three professional cricketers, while in Australia they played 19 Australian Rules matches.

"You'd want to be there a week at the minimum".

Here, we identify some of the pre-tour talking points.

"The skill-set they have from numbers one to 23 - they've got props throwing 20-metre passes off left or right hand - their game understanding and game awareness is great".

My worry is that this summer we could see two different philosophies: a group of players stretching themselves in the provincial games, and then the Test team reverting to type with a variation of Warrenball and the hope that Owen Farrell converts his kicks while Beauden Barrett misses.

"The rugby calendar was starting to get a little bit more games in it and there was a bigger demand for longer seasons in Europe".

Lions head coach Warren Gatland prefers a physical gameplan and Jones reckon the Lions will need to be more clever to beat New Zealand in their own backyard. The casting adrift of the midweek players in some Lions expeditions had a severely damaging effect on morale, and can not be repeated this time round.

For what it's worth, I reckon they have made an excellent choice. The warm-up games and lead-up games are for the Test series. On top of their loss to the Stormers, it wasn't enough to keep the Blues in the hunt, while the Chiefs slip down to fourth in the New Zealand conference, which, if they stay there, will mean a trip to either Johannesburg or Christchurch.

How did a small country of less than five million people create such a gap between them and the rest of the world?