Boost for the All Blacks as the Lions touch down

Ed Angeli

The British and Irish Lions have touched down in New Zealand, and were welcomed with a Maori ceremony; the Lions’ response? A rather brilliant rendition of Calon Lan – a Welsh hymn – led by hooker, Ken Owens. 

The Lions face a bruising schedule with five matches against Super Rugby sides. A lot has been made of the calender this summer, with both coaches of the teams, Steve Hansen and Warren Gatland, criticising it as too busy.

“You can’t dwell on it… We know what a daunting challenge we face. Everyone is really up for it.”

Warren Gatland, British and Irish Lions coach

If the fixture list didn’t put enough fear amongst the Lions, then the likely return of All Black captain, Kieran Read, will. The Crusaders No. 8 was tipped to not be fit for the first test of the series following a fractured thumb. However, Read expects to be out of the cast by next week, and ready for the 24th of June – the first test of the series.

Read also disagrees with the majority, as he suggests that the Lions’ busy schedule suits the touring party; giving the Northern Hemisphere the upper hand heading into the first test.

“I think their advantage is they will have been together for a few weeks already and they’ll have three or four games before that first Test” — Kieran Read, speaking to TVNZ1

We’ll see how the Lions react to the busy schedule in a few weeks, which starts with playing the Provincial Union XV this coming Saturday.

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