In a newspaper article today Nick Evans stated that because of the confidence in their rugby ability, New Zealanders are confident that the Lions tour will finish 10-0 (to New Zealand!) –
I can equally confidently state that this will not be the case – however I do worry about the state that the Lions will be in come June 24th.
Everyone knows that the schedule is ‘suicidal’ (Graham Henry’s description, not mine) – no touring team has ever ‘accepted’ anything like it.
The fact is that the tour will be a success if the Lions win just 2 games – as long as those are both test matches. The chances are slim since the tests are at the end of the tour and those that haven’t been replaced through injury (my guess is 13 will be needed) will have been sorely (sic) tested against formidable opposition long before they face the haka at Eden park.
But all that is speculation for the next few weeks – tomorrow the tour kicks off against the provincial Barbarians side in Whangarei.
On paper this should be a cakewalk – however the first game rarely is – no matter the strength of the opposition.
The provincial side will be seriously up for this – they will come out at 100 miles an hour and want to get stuck into the Lions – a one off chance for most to make a name for themselves. The Lions only arrived in NZ on Wednesday – 3 days is no time to get over jet lag – even flying in business. The accepted time to fully recover is one day for each hour of time difference – that’s 11 days.
I’ve done the journey many times and even for a highly tuned athlete like myself, it was a bit of a bastard.
It was all I could do to lift a couple of Speights!
The Lions will win – by 30+, but it will not be until the second half that they pull away.
A good start but with much tougher days to come.