B&I Lions will be back insists New Zealand boss

Sat, 01 Jul 2017 06:06
Large steve tew 2017 800

REACTION: New Zealand rugby boss Steve Tew believes future tours by the British and Irish Lions may be trimmed, but he is adamant they must continue and not be scrapped.

Tew joined the growing debate on the value of Lions tours, telling Newstalk ZB that planning was already underway for the next 12-yearly tour of New Zealand in 2029. 

But, speaking ahead of Saturday's second Test between the Lions and All Blacks in Wellington, Tew suggested future tours, which rotate every four years between New Zealand, South Africa and Australia, may be reduced from 10 to eight games.

"We negotiated a new 12-year international calendar with Lions tours factored into that calendar. I'm confident that we'll see the Lions back here in the normal schedule that we've got going," Tew said.

"I think it's reasonable to expect that we probably won't see a 10-game tour again, the calendar is just too full. We have a strong view of what the minimum [number of games] looks like, and that is around eight."

There has been increasing speculation, fuelled by a reluctance of British clubs to release players, that the 129-year-old tradition of sending a combined British and Irish side to New Zealand, Australia or South Africa could be doomed. 

But Tew said lessons had been learned from the current New Zealand tour, particularly the need for the Lions to have a longer preparation.

After waiting for the full squad to be assembled at the end of the club season, the Lions had only three days to get over travel fatigue before playing their first game in New Zealand.

Tew said that was an issue for the Lions, and not New Zealand, to address.

"They need a longer preparation clearly than they had this year. They could have done that themselves. They could easily have brought the majority of the squad over to play the Barbarians game and just left the guys playing the club finals behind, and join later," said Tew. 

Rival Lions and All Blacks captains, Sam Warburton and Kieran Read, have also given strong endorsement for continuing the tours. 

Warburton said Friday he would be "gutted, devastated" if the Lions tradition came to an end and described the four-yearly tours as "the absolute pinnacle of my career." 

The Lions have won only one of 11 previous New Zealand tours and again find themselves on the brink of defeat after losing the first of three Tests 15-30 in Auckland last week.

The World Rugby schedule has the Lions next touring South Africa in 2021, then  Australia in 2025 before returning to New Zealand in 2029.

Agence France-Presse

There are currently no matches being played
Sat, 24 February 2018
Sunwolves v Brumbies 04h15 Tokyo
Crusaders v Chiefs 06h35 Christchurch
Waratahs v Stormers 08h45 Allianz Park
Treviso v Connacht 12h00 Stadio Monigo
Lions v Jaguares 13h05 Johannesburg
Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints 14h00 Sandy Park
Ireland v Wales 14h15 Aviva Stadium
Harlequins v Newcastle Falcons 14h30 Twickenham Stoop
Gloucester v Wasps 14h30 Kingsholm
Bath v Sale Sharks 14h30 Recreation Ground
Bulls v Hurricanes 15h15 Loftus Versfeld
Scotland v England 16h45 BT Murrayfield
Ospreys v Cheetahs 17h30 Liberty Stadium
Scarlets v Ulster 19h35 Parc y Scarlets
Sun, 25 February 2018
Zebre v Cardiff Blues 13h00 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
London Irish v Worcester Warriors 13h00 Madejski Stadium
Saracens v Leicester Tigers 15h30 Allianz Park
Fri, 02 March 2018
Blues v Chiefs 06h35 Eden Park
Reds v Brumbies 09h00 Suncorp Stadium
Kings v Dragons 17h35 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Edinburgh v Munster 19h35 Myreside
Cardiff Blues v Treviso 19h35 Cardiff Arms Park
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 19h35 Kingspan Stadium
Harlequins v Bath 19h45 Twickenham Stoop
Sat, 03 March 2018
Sunwolves v Rebels 22h00 Tokyo
Fri, 23 February 2018
France v Italy 34 | 17
Leinster v Kings 64 | 7
Dragons v Edinburgh 12 | 25
Munster v Glasgow Warriors 21 | 10
Rebels v Reds 45 | 19
Highlanders v Blues 41 | 34
Mon, 19 February 2018
NWU-Pukke v UJ 18 | 15
Maties v CUT-Ixias 75 | 12
UCT-Ikeys v Shimlas 27 | 32
NMMU-Madibaz v Wits 29 | 32
Sun, 18 February 2018
Dragons v Treviso 15 | 18
Wasps v Exeter Chiefs 13 | 7
Sat, 17 February 2018
Cardiff Blues v Munster 25 | 18
Lions v Sharks 26 | 19
Leinster v Scarlets 20 | 13
Team P W D L Pts
B&I Lions 0 0 0 0 0
Australia 0 0 0 0 0
Barbarians 0 0 0 0 0
Force 0 0 0 0 0
Reds 0 0 0 0 0
Waratahs 0 0 0 0 0
Brumbies 0 0 0 0 0
Rebels 0 0 0 0 0
NSW-Queensland 0 0 0 0 0
Blues 0 0 0 0 0
Highlanders 0 0 0 0 0
Hurricanes 0 0 0 0 0
Crusaders 0 0 0 0 0
Chiefs 0 0 0 0 0
NZ Barbarians 0 0 0 0 0
Maori All Blacks 0 0 0 0 0
New Zealand 0 0 0 0 0