Tuesday 20 March 2018

White warns future of Lions in jeopardy if tourists don't secure series victory

Conor George

Conor George

JAKE WHITE believes that if the Lions don't win the Test series then the very concept of the tour is in danger of becoming obsolete.

And he claimed that whichever side wins on Saturday will win the series.

However South African White, who coaches the Brumbies against the Lions in Canberra this morning, is convinced that the Lions are in a very strong position ahead of Saturday's opening Test in Brisbane.

"You don't want to be going to New Zealand in four years' time and it being 20 years without a series win," said White.

"The romantic side of the Lions tours, with playing provincial sides, is great. But if you're not winning a series, what is the point? The Lions need to win this series to prove that the idea still works and that it is relevant."

White declined to say who he believes will win the Test series but did state that the Lions are in a terrific position to do so, notwithstanding their injury issues.

"I would suggest that the front row they will play on Saturday will be totally different to the one they were planning to play in the opening Test. (Cian) Healy and (Dylan) Hartley were going to play I think so they've had to change their plans there.

"But apart from the further injuries to (Jamie) Roberts and (Tommy) Bowe, they have had the perfect run-in.

"If I were planning a Lions tour it is exactly how I would have wanted the matches and the results to go."

Former Springboks coach White did go so far as to suggest that the Lions have to be favourites to secure victory in the series.

"They are playing against a team who have not played in a long time, are going with a new 10 (James O'Connor) and who have no momentum. If the Lions don't win this Test series you have to ask, when are they ever likely to?"

Irish Independent

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