George North excited by potential of British and Irish Lions squad

"If they don't then I think it will be a tough old series".

"They are a smart side and they will know what's coming".

At least he will not have the Lions skipper - flanker Sam Warburton - in direct competition for a Test berth, and George said: "I guess that is a change".

We just hope that it won't be the last time we see them, because some of those club owners would do away with the Lions at the drop of their ten gallon hats.

The first Test match is on 24 June in Auckland.

With just under a month to go before Sam Warburton leads the British and Irish Lions out at Eden Park for the first Test against New Zealand, the squad's preparations are in full-swing.

"I know there's talk at the moment of shortening a Lions tour, but that's from people who've never done it", McGeechan, who coached four Lions tours across three decades, told 5 live's rugby podcast.

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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. "A New Zealand Super Rugby derby is virtually an All Black trial and there is a lot of depth there because the systems are so good". Not only did the Lions win a brutal Test series 2-1, with Jeremy Guscott's drop-goal sealing the pivotal 18-15 victory in the second encounter, but the tourists' video diaries lifted the lid on a glorious last hurrah for and long goodbye to rugby union's amateur era. "I can not see many easy games for them in what is a full-on tour". That will bolster them and push the Lions even harder.

The British and Irish Lions' demanding 2017 New Zealand tour will provide confirmation of just how big the brand has become. In truth, the Lions are likely to require a combination of styles in their game-plans as they target a first Test series triumph against New Zealand since 1971. It's nicer to be longer than that.

The 58-year-old former Wales coach also suggested the majority of the Lions squad could have flown to New Zealand earlier - most were not required for either the Aviva Premiership or Guinness Pro12 finals.

"Our main focus has to be on ourselves, we need to get our stuff right and if you can do that then the other stuff takes care of itself", Farrell said.

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. "I don't know if I want the pressure of it, but we'll see where I fit in".

Such was New Zealand's status as a growing force that the 1908 tour saw more games being staged in that country than Australia, and the All Blacks delivered a standard by which the Lions found themselves judged.

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