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A closer look at the task lying in front of Lions

The British and Lions will be touring New Zealand this year and are set for one of the toughest tours in their history. Warren Gatland is key to deciding the side’s tactics, selections and strategic approach. The New Zealander should be familiar with the Lions’ opponents.

Defensive coach Andy Farrell will have many sleepless nights on how to stop the Australasian side. Mind you, he can look back to when he did it for the Irish.

Despite never beating New Zealand before, he will hoping to win at least two Tests against the reigning World champions albeit with a better squad than Wales. The big question is: Does he have an idea on how to beat NZ? So many special tours in recent memory with the Lions tradition special among players and fans.

They play World Champions for the second time in 8 years, coupled with some daunting provinces in NZ. The last two Lions tours has seen the Lions win 3 and lose 3 tests. Gatland will be aiming to create a team spirit and merge players from different playing styles and cultures to become ONE.

12 years ago the Lions got dismantled 3-0 by New Zealand. Daniel Carter was at the heart of that demolition job in the decisive second test and they face an even better All Black squad in my opinion.

The All Blacks thrive off turnover ball and will be able to strike and punish any mistake made. A solid set-piece, an excellence when it comes to counter-attacking especially off poor kicks.

They have an array of defensive and attacking weapons at their disposal. You are looking at a set of players with high fitness levels, strong offload skills and exceptional transition abilities between attack and defence and vise – versa.

New Zealand’s depth, quality, experience make them a tough proposition. The Lions will need to play at the highest level of intensity, combining it with a bit of flair, pace and physicality. Can they do it?

The Lions need to produce three clinical performances which include the tactical use of the boot and the ability to convert their shots at goal afforded the side. The role the 9-10-12 will significant especially in easing pressure and applying pressure on the New Zealanders’ back three in particular looking to hit the grass on many occasions.  

Defence will play a key part, while there may be an emphasis or desire to match New Zealand’s attacking excellence the Lions will need to get the balance right when picking the grafters and ballers.  Players that have the mental strength to withstand pressure in New Zealand and are up for the task to fight in the toughest cauldron. A collection of leaders will also play a key role in the squads’ set-up.

The use of England’s recent success and the strength of the Irish sides in the Champions Cup will need to be a draw of strength as the players are showing exceptional form and ability. Gatland’s task will be to not select best collection of players, but to select best players for a job in New Zealand. Mentally tough, physically ready, players who fit the group and don’t destabilize it while grooming players towards the next tour.

My British and Irish Lions squad:

LH Prop –

Mako Vunipola

McGrath Jack

Joe Marler

Hookers –

Jamie George

Ken Owens

Rory Best

TH Prop –

Tadgh Furlong

Dan Cole

Kyle Sinckler

Locks –

Jonny Gray

Iain Henderson

Courtney Lawes

George Kruis

AW Jones

Flankers –

CJ Stander

Sam Warburton

Maro Itoje

Sean O’Brien

Peter O’Mahony

No 8s –

Billy Vunipola

Toby Faletau

Scrumhalf –

Connor Murray

Ben Youngs

Greig Laidlaw

Flyhalf –

J Sexton

George Ford

Inside centre –

Owen Farrell

Robbie Henshaw

Outside centre –

Jonathan Davies

Jonathan Josephs

Fullback –

Stuart Hogg

Liam Williams

Wingers –

George North

Elliot Daly

Chris Ashton

J Nowell

A Watson

 

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8 Comments

  1. avatar

    bryce_in_oz

    April 17, 2017 at 9:54 am

    Great squad… I’d only swap one… Warren Gatland for EJ or Schmidt…

    ReplyReply
  2. avatar

    Americano

    April 17, 2017 at 11:30 pm

    GO LIONS !

    ReplyReply
  3. avatar

    out wide

    April 17, 2017 at 11:52 pm

    @Americano: Ha ha – thats what owners of pubs, air bnb establishments, ski resorts and camper van companies are saying here in NZ too. This once in 12 year event brings a bevy of affluent Lion supporters over here and they will be welcomed with open arms and leave with empty pockets!

    ReplyReply
  4. avatar

    Americano

    April 18, 2017 at 2:03 am

    Thanks for your hospitality Mr outwide.
    I hope Kim Dotcom attends all proceedings.

    ReplyReply
  5. avatar

    bryce_in_oz

    April 18, 2017 at 2:47 am

    @out wide:

    They have to be the best fans in the world…

    I was speaking to some of them at the Aus tour and they start saving immediately after arriving back… with 50% of their budget solely for booze…

    ReplyReply
  6. DavidS

    DavidS

    April 19, 2017 at 5:45 pm

    They play World Champions for the second time in 8 years,…

    Wot?

    They were in NZ in 2005 and got klapped.

    Then that year Dan Carter pissed in his pants and kncked on a ball with blood in eyes Bakkies Botha charging at him at Newlands.

    In 2009… eight years ago… they were here when we could still play rugby and then we dismantled them like the bitches they were and they whined.

    Met some of them at the Pretoria game and did not find a single character trait I found likable. A Portuguese bouncer at one of the pubs I hung out at in Edenvale tossed four out because they made a nuisance of themselves.

    ReplyReply
  7. avatar

    Craven

    April 20, 2017 at 7:32 am

    Itinerary from hell, these Lions will be bruised even before the first test…

    NZ Barbarians
    Blues
    Crusaders
    Highlanders
    Maori All Blacks
    Chiefs
    All Blacks
    Hurricanes
    All Blacks
    All Blacks

    ReplyReply
  8. avatar

    cab

    April 20, 2017 at 7:42 pm

    BC – Lets be honest, its going to be another hammering. Only side that can match and beat ABs intensity in a test series is a fired up Bok team.

    Oz and France capable of one-off game-breaking moments of genius, but whole series, nah never

    Only 1 side capable of that

    ReplyReply

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