The British & Irish Lions’ tough tour games will boost their hopes of a series win, says Eddie Jones
Warren Gatland has lined up six matches on tour to help the players prepare for the challenge of the All Blacks
The Lions will face a Provincial Union XV, New Zealand Maori and four of the country’s Super Rugby sides
Eddie Jones believes the British and Irish Lions’ demanding schedule on the tour of New Zealand could work in their favour when they attempt to beat the All Blacks next year.
The Lions will face a Provincial Union XV in their first fixture on June 3, then take on a quartet of Super Rugby sides and the Moari All Blacks before the first of three Tests against the world champions on June 24.
Warren Gatland’s men will also come up against Hurricanes prior to the second Test in a hectic itinerary.
Jones feels the games organised would allow the Lions to adapt to conditions and to the playing styles expected in the Tests.
“What’s going to be interesting is the lead-up games; how much form the Lions can get quickly against Super Rugby teams who are going to be firing,” he told Sky Sports.
“I think there’s a potential advantage there for the Lions. Although it’s a tough schedule, everyone acknowledges that, but it gives them a chance to adjust to the pace and the tempo that’s going to be played in New Zealand.”
At the same time Jones acknowledged what the All Blacks had achieved in 2016 after the post-World Cup loss of Richie McCaw, Dan Carter, Ma’a Nonu, Conrad Smith, Tony Woodcock and Keven Mealamu.
“It’s quite exceptional what they’ve done and that they’ve got the capacity to replace icons of the game so quickly,” he added.
“The gap they have between the best player and their next best player is a lot smaller than any other country in the world. It’s a great credit to New Zealand’s development system and their coaches.”