British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland.
British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland. NZ Herald / Mark Mitchell

Lions question quality of rival teams in lead up to big Test

DON'T place too much importance or credence on complaints from the British and Irish Lions' press and team regarding lack of quality opposition hindering their preparation for the big, more important stuff ... the Test series against the Wallabies.

Yes, there has been a couple of score blowouts against the Force and Combined Country, but that would have been expected, if not welcomed.

Touring sides, especially ones that bring together players from different teams, or countries, as is the case with the British and Irish Lions, need time to gel, work out combinations and mesh individuals into a team.

What you don't want, and the French were world's best at this, is your first four or so games against the toughest opposition available in the land.

Before you know it, your tour could be going down the gurgler.

No. You want easier games, together with a couple of tougher ones early on, building towards your ultimate goal of winning the Test series.

Let's look at the British and Irish Lions' early tour schedule.

An 'earner' in Honkers on their way to Gondwanaland, then Force, Reds and Combined Country before the Tahs on Saturday and Brumbies on Tuesday.

Soooo, a few easier games wrapped around a few tough ones. I'd say that is perfect preparation for their needs.

Combinations would be gelling, players would be playing their way in or out of selection, and getting the feel for playing down south.

And, as a result of this more than effective preparation, the British and Irish Lions' individuals will be coming together to form a team.

That's exactly what Warren Gatland and his coaching group would be after.



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