New Zealand coach Steve Hansen questions Lions' tour schedule

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen questions Lions' tour schedule

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen questions Lions' tour schedule

The rollercoaster domestic season had to be consigned to a previous life, as all four unions came together under one badge.

With the current spike in concussion injuries in New Zealand rugby, New Zealand coaches have expressed concern about the physical toll the New Zealand derbies are having on players.

A squad built around Wales' dream teams of the 1970s - players like Gareth Edwards, Barry John, Gerald Davies and JPR Williams - secured a series win against the All Blacks - 2-1, with one draw - raising the bar for future tourists.

"It opens up opportunities for players like James Haskell to step in". Those who ignore history are bound to repeat its mistakes and history has not been kind to the Lions.

What he didn't say, but what everyone in New Zealand suspects, is that the tour represents a 10-match audition to be the All Blacks coach following the 2019 World Cup - a final homecoming after a coaching career largely spent in exile. There were also complaints about the sin binning of Dean Mumm, but they got that one dead right.

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Owen Farrell, the indispensable Saracens playmaker, experienced defeat to Exeter in the Premiership semifinal. Though disappointed, Smith was keenly focused on playing.

"The warm-up matches will be full on and nearly like Tests", said Thrush. "To get straight into training and to be excited to be here is brilliant".

Ahead of the last independence referendum, I got into an argument about the outcome with an old friend. The couple are believed to be planning to tie the knot after the Lions tour when the highly rated 25-year-old gets back from his first taste of being part of a special squad drawn from the very best players from the home nations, and who only play every four years in either New Zealand, Australia or South Africa. "I can not see many easy games for them in what is a full-on tour".

"Now, pressure is a amusing thing and I know our guys have lived under that pressure for a long time".

But away from their off-field duties, there is a focus on achieving the unexpected.

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While the Lions backs cut rivals to ribbons with their speed of pass and the peerless kicking of Welsh flyhalf John, the forwards did their bit by standing up to a furious physical assault that leaves the reader wincing nearly 50 years on - but by also giving the New Zealanders a lesson in dynamic scrummaging. "And we fly Monday, we get there Wednesday, and play Saturday, so it is going to come thick and fast".

The exhibition will include a remembrance panel to honour the rugby players who were killed during World War I, complementing Te Papa'sGallipoli - The scale of our war exhibition. Little is being left to chance.

Heartbreaking losses followed in Australia in 2001 and South Africa in 2009, sandwiching the 3-0 humiliation of Clive Woodward's 2005 party in New Zealand. But as they strolled around London, introducing themselves to one another, there was a quiet confidence among the class of 2017.

After forging their combinations in the fire of the tour games, Gatland and his coaching team then have to worry about what is coming the other way.

"Ireland did it really well and I think the Lions are going to struggle".

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