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Lions schedule criticised by All Blacks coach Hansen

03 June 2017

North has been on the losing side three times against New Zealand during his 69-cap Wales career, while the Lions' last experience at All Blacks' hands was a sobering one, losing all three Tests 12 years ago and conceding 107 points.

Jones said the Lions, who are expected to favour Gatland's "Warrenball" approach of powerful, direct running, must win the first Test on June 24 or be prepared for a "tough old series".

One win leads to a massive blacklash in the second Test and the series in the balance at 1-1 before the decider, which is when the tourists grab history by the throat and bend it to their will.

Do that, then the pressure goes right back on Steve Hansen's team and no matter how good they are, no one builds pressure like an expectant New Zealand public.

But England back Farrell, a Wigan St Patrick's product, was typically forthright about the belief among the Lions, who must topple the sport's dominant force in partisan conditions and turn the 2005 whitewash emphatically on its head.

The squad will arrive at approximately 11:30am NZ time with Gatland and tour manager John Spencer speaking to the press after they get through all their arrival checks.

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That fact of his character rings throughout Brian Moore's courting of his opinion of the incipient Lions tour.

Click play below to check out episode 17 of The Hard Yards rugby podcast, featuring Jerry Flannery, Isaac Boss and SportsJOE's Pat McCarry with host Andy McGeady. They are an incredible team who just keep getting better and to be honest seeing the Lions win two tests at least is near nigh impossible.

"No team can play the New Zealand way - only New Zealand can do that", Cole said at their training camp on Friday.

This was Ulster's trio of British and Irish Lions rugby players - forwards Rory Best, Iain Henderson and back Jared Payne - saying an emotional goodbye to loved ones ahead of embarking on a bruising five-week, 10-game odyssey to New Zealand for what could be the highlight of their playing careers.

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And we've got some very talented attacking players.

"What we found was that, even if they weren't obsessed with the game themselves, every man, woman and child has some relationship with the game in New Zealand".

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But with key players like Read and Coles battling to be fit in time, there is an inkling of a chance for the Lions to take the first test.

The kicking will be just as important this year but Gatland is a Kiwi born and raised and he knows it will not be easy to overpower the All Blacks however much British and Irish beef he can throw at them. Gatland took a sabbatical to concentrate on the Lions whereas Warburton stood down from the captaincy after six years to concentrate on his own form.

This is his moment, and New Zealand should not underestimate him - or his players.

No Lions team has won all of their non-Test matches since McGeechan's side of 1989.

"The challenge is going to be huge in the Test series and there will be no greater one in our careers". But then the Lions will need to be quite good to beat the world champions.

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