The Lions Sing Fields Of Athenry Before New Zealand Departure

The Lions Sing Fields Of Athenry Before New Zealand Departure

The British and Irish Lions need no reminding that it is now 46 years since their sole Test series win in New Zealand.

Here, we select three classic tours to live long in Lions' memory.

"I think the squad Gats (Lions head coach Warren Gatland) has picked has got a mixture of that wide rugby with great skill-sets and speed, and there is also power and some serious force up front", North told Press Association Sport.

The word from the Lions is that Gatland has inflicted ferocious training sessions on them as a necessary prequel to warm-up games against full-strength Super Rugby teams.

Lions coach Warren Gatland admitted he had tried to persuade Vunipola to make the trip to take on the All Blacks but the 24-year-old was adamant he was not fit to travel.

"As a kid at school you always went on tour, clubs always went on tours".

The All Blacks scheduled a test match earlier this month, against Samoa in Auckland on June 16.

"You want to win on the tour, and you know you have got to pull together as quickly as possible".

"There's a proportion at the moment in New Zealand where it's arrogance and not humility", Gatland said at the time.

"That helped lay the foundations of the All Black side that won the 1987 World Cup and that style of counter-attacking play we have seen from the All Blacks ever since". "New Zealand pride was at stake".

"I have just been concentrating this week about getting back into things".

England, who have provided 15 of the 41 players, are now ranked second in the world behind the All Blacks while coach Warren Gatland added 11 from Ireland, who are fourth and hammered the world champions for the first time previous year in Chicago. 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.

Beneath the Black is the brainchild of James Gemmell, who spent several weeks in New Zealand interviewing legendary All Blacks including Richie McCaw, Dan Carter and Sean Fitzpatrick to learn what rugby means to the country. Most players will only have played two or three games. They are World Champions in their own country.

How will the Lions play against New Zealand?

The kicking will be just as important this year but Gatland is Kiwi-born and raised and he knows it will not be easy to overpower the All Blacks, however much British and Irish beef he can throw at them.

McMillan rejected that opportunity as a player when he left Bay of Plenty after 113 games to play in Japan, knowing the 2005 Lions were on the horizon.

Four significant cups - the Webb Ellis Cup, Tom French Cup, Dave Gallaher Cup and Women's Sevens World Cup - will be displayed as a fitting demonstration of New Zealand rugby team's recent worldwide achievements. He wants his players to get a feel of playing against the Lions. If he does so, it may well be a gamble which pays off in the Test matches. While the tour opener against a New Zealand Provincial Barbarians XV should be straightforward, the degree of difficulty soon increases.



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