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 –
|TH Prop –
|No 8s –
|Inside centre –
|Outside centre –