Lions stars of past and present assess New Zealand tour

  • Lions stars of past and present assess New Zealand tour

Lions stars of past and present assess New Zealand tour

New Zealand are notoriously hard to beat once they get the rustiness out of their systems in game one and if the Lions do not prevail in Auckland then the series is as good as ever.

McLauchlan had the nickname Mighty Mouse and one of my friends told me that he could lift up one end of a small vehicle.

There is nothing like a Lions tour to get the juices flowing, particularly as this Lions squad can genuinely challenge the All Blacks if (and it is a big if) they play to their potential. Being with them gives you a good perspective on No 10 play.

"The series in New Zealand will be a contrast in styles". They did, though, earn a 14-14 draw in 1971 which sealed their only series victory in New Zealand.

After four years of waiting, the Lions tour of 2017 is finally ready to begin.

Smith (30) revealed yesterday he had a clause in his new contract to take on the Lions but he wanted to play for the All Blacks because representing his country was the pinnacle. Everything is stacked against the Lions and the first Test is absolutely huge - if they win that one, it is game on. But the substantial New Zealand leg proved an altogether tougher proposition, with only a 60 per cent success rate from 25 matches, including defeats in all four Tests in Dunedin, Wellington, Christchurch and Auckland.

They have a point and had the Lions' management signed Joe Schmidt, who masterminded that victory, those Lions' fans would be travelling in good spirits.

This tour will be no different with the All Blacks an eye-watering 1/5 to win the series.

The game comes just three days after the tourists touch down here - and McMillan, the Baa-baas coach, hopes that works in his side's favour.

The Blues will provide the first real test for the tourists with Tana Umaga, captain of the side that swept the 2005 series, allowed to select his All Blacks. He knew. He played against the Lions. "He's in camp this week and he's developing really well", said Lions assistant coach Steve Borthwick.

"I just want to get out there and play my best footy now". But with key players like Read and Coles battling to be fit in time, there is an inkling of a chance for the Lions to take the first test. The Maori team have an impressive record against worldwide sides and will be determined to continue that. Of the nine previous Lions tests on the ground, the visitors have won just once, in 1959.

Despite the task facing Gatland's side, McGeechan feels the team will do better than is expected. The warm-up games and lead-up games are for the Test series.

"New Zealand will know what's coming".

But the fact is this is the biggest money spinner outside of the World Cup, and they have to go where the most cash can be made.

The team they have chosen appears to be very much dependent on a powerful and quite mobile forward pack gaining an edge.

"A lot of teams here (in Britain) rush in defence and put you under a lot of pressure to be able to get the ball wide".