Hastings verdict on NZ tour
Lions ‘can return heroes, but schedule is nuts’
The British and Irish Lions can return from their tour of New Zealand as heroes if they overcome a schedule which former captain Gavin Hastings believes is ‘nuts’.
The All Blacks are heavy favourites to put Warren Gatland’s squad to the sword this summer and Hastings insists the gruelling schedule awaiting the travelling party does the Lions no favours as they try to secure an historic series triumph.
The first match of the 10-match tour kicks off against the New Zealand Barbarians on Saturday, 3 June just four days after the squad’s arrival and there are a further five tough games before the first Test against the All Blacks at Eden Park on Saturday, 24 June.
Speaking to Daily Business at Standard Life headquarters as part of a media briefing organised by sponsor Standard Life Investments, he said: “They arrive on the Tuesday and the first game is on the Saturday. It’s nuts, really, but that’s the way it is for modern-day Lions tours.
“These guys will get together probably a week before the first game which is nuts.
“It’s all about winning two Test matches on the whole tour, though. If they lose the eight other games but win two Test matches they will return heroes with a 20 per cent win record.
“It seems inconceivable you can have that win record and be heroes, but believe me that’s what will happen.
“The games prior to the Test matches are all about Warren Gatland and his coaching team getting a formation and blend together that will be deemed good enough to beat the All Blacks.”
The first Test is on Saturday, 24 June at Eden Park, Auckland, with the second one staged at Westpac Stadium, Wellington seven days later before the Lions return to Eden Park for the concluding Test match on Saturday, 8 July.
The full interview with Gavin Hastings will appear on the Daily Business website