George North excited by potential of Lions squad to tour New Zealand

  • George North excited by potential of Lions squad to tour New Zealand

George North excited by potential of Lions squad to tour New Zealand

There is no margin for error when you have Julian Saeva, Ben Smith and Israel Dagg to counter.

This punishment served a double goal. Farrell has been studying the game plans, learning the systems but one of his main challenges to date has been finding his vocal range in choir practice, as the Lions prepare songs to answer various welcomes they will receive on tour.

But England back Farrell, a Wigan St Patrick's product, was typically forthright about the belief among the Lions, who must topple the sport's dominant force in partisan conditions and turn the 2005 whitewash emphatically on its head.

The All Blacks coach wasn't surprised by the naming of the Lions squad, but doesn't expect an easy series.

It must have been a comical sight.

Jones said the Lions, who are expected to favour Gatland's "Warrenball" approach of powerful, direct running, must win the first Test on June 24 or be prepared for a "tough old series". After saying so on arrival in Auckland, he was roundly jeered and then proven correct.

First Lions team to win a test series in New Zealand (2-1).

"The option you've got is for the sake of the team".

What they carry, rather, is the burden of history.

Normal service resumed as the Lions lost the Test series 3-1.

The Lions will be fully extended in the warm-up matches in a way they were not in South Africa in 2009 and Australia four years ago when for the most part they faced markedly inferior opposition.

There is little question that the outstanding Lions side we see today owes something to the work Mitchell did in laying the foundations. Be that as it may: the task before them is gargantuan.

However, he acknowledges Warren Gatland's Lions will not be a pushover, adding: "This Lions squad is one of the best to have been picked for a long, long time".

Hansen used the interview to lob a few grenades, including a defence of All Blacks flyhalf Beauden Barrett after Gatland had suggested place-kicking could be an area of the game that gave an edge to the tourists.

One of the most famous shots from that tour was of Fitzpatrick and Lions captain Gavin Hastings - each wearing the other's match jersey- embracing post-match. The Lions have to be up to speed once the all-important first test comes along because they have a chance.

The Lions arrive Wednesday at the start of a almost six-week tour.

The first British and Irish Lions, even if in 1888 they were not known as such, took seven weeks at sea to reach what were then the antipodean British colonies and played 16 matches, as well as 19 Australian Rules games, in Australia and New Zealand.

But if it's tough, it's tough.

"For anyone who hasn't been there before, it's a real insight into the thinking behind the All Blacks, and the responsibility they have in upholding the country's rugby traditions". He is a joker and can drink with the best of them but he can also play and was outstanding against the Wallabies last summer. 'Prestige has been acquired, prejudice dissipated and encouragements for the future are a dime a dozen...' wrote one newspaper correspondent.