Thursday, 21 June, 2018


Lions schedule criticised by All Blacks coach Hansen

Sexton was also in action after being named in the starting XV for Saturday's game Sexton was also in action after being named in the starting XV for Saturday's game
Bennie Garza | 01 June, 2017, 18:50

However, All Blacks number eight Alex Wyllie, who was himself on the end of a haymaker from Lions prop Ray McLoughlin, dismissed it all as "just a bit of biff". They were the best centre partnership in the World and they had never played together.

"It was the toughest decision as a player you have to make but ultimately it was the right one for me and the team".

"And we fly Monday, we get there Wednesday and play Saturday, so it is going to come thick and fast". That's what I've done.

Much is made of home advantage, but even so the Lions' overall win record of 37 per cent (40 wins in 108 Tests) is nothing to shout about.

McGeechan is the man who introduced Gatland to the Lions, and was quickly impressed by how the Wales coach bought into the Lions mantra.

New Zealand's kit sponsor tweeted a picture of the badge, which features the years 1904 and 2017 above and below the familiar silver fern with a shield-shaped border surrounding the design.

In other ways, however, it shows how little has changed, as revolutionary coach Carwyn James tried to develop the sort of "all-court game" that remains the hallmark of today's most successful teams but still needed a dominant scrum to do it.

How not to go about this was demonstrated on the previous tour to New Zealand in 2005, when Sir Clive Woodward took spin doctor Alastair Campbell along to look after media relations and the attempt to control everything provoked annoyance on all sides. The gaps build interest and anticipation, and when you're on the wrong side of 50 like I am, 12 years seems to go a hell of a lot quicker than it used to!

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen says he expects no surprises in the way the British and Irish Lions approach the test series against the All Blacks under the coaching of Warren Gatland. But that's where the magic, mystique and romance of the Lions kicks in, there is always that element of the unknown about this band of tourists. "He knew how big the team is to New Zealanders".

This is a brutal tour with all New Zealand Super XV franchises in the itinerary with All Blacks available for selection.

The tourists played 22 matches between 15 May and 27 July, and won all but the last game, which was a controversial draw - they used just 17 players in the four Tests. It won't have done them any harm.

The Lions lost 2-0, with one game drawn.

Fact is, with the club bosses not really giving a fig about worldwide rugby, we're probably lucky we still have them at all.

He has questioned why they are arriving in the country just three days before their opening game of the ten-match tour.

The New Zealand franchises continue to dominate in this year's Super Rugby.

The aggregate score between Lions and All Blacks since Dawes' team came home reads P14 W2 L12: four series lost.

"As long as internally, they feel their own game is developing and getting strengths - if there is the odd loss or two, it's irrelevant".

The series could be decided or still in the air if locked at 1-1 entering the finale at Eden Park.

Gatland is expected to field as close to his first test side as possible in a game considered the unofficial fourth test of the tour. The warm-up games and lead-up games are for the Test series.

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