Eddie Jones sees the difficult lead up to the series as an advantage for the Lions

The Lions face all five Super Rugby franchises on the tour

BY Simon Maguire 17:20 Tuesday 27 December 2016, 17:20 27 Dec 2016

England head coach Eddie Jones. Image: ©INPHO/Andrew Fosker

England coach Eddie Jones believes the difficult build-up the Lions have when they arrive in New Zealand next summer will work to their advantage before the test series begins on 24th June.

The Lions are due to play their first game against a Provincial XV in Whangarei on June 3rd before playing the Auckland Blues on June 7th, the Canterbury Crusaders on June 10th and the Otago Highlanders on June 13th.

The tourists then play the unofficial fourth test against the New Zealand Maori in Rotorua on June 17th before being entertained by the Waikato Chiefs on June 20th.

They have four days then to prepare for the world champion All Blacks in the opening game of the series. The New Zealand management have previously promised to "fully load" the Super Rugby sides with their international players.

Speaking to Sky Sports ahead of the tour, Jones believes the matches will allow the Lions to adapt to test series conditions relatively quickly. He said: "What's going to be interesting is the lead-up games, how much form the Lions can get quickly against Super Rugby teams who are going to be firing.

"I think there's a potential advantage there for the Lions. Although it's a tough schedule, everyone acknowledges that, but it gives them a chance to adjust to the pace and the tempo that's going to be played in New Zealand," he added. 

New Zealand All Blacks Julian Savea. Image: ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

After retaining their world title in 2015, New Zealand picked up from where they left off. They "black-washed" Wales 3-0 in the June series and swept all before them as they won the Rugby Championship and retained the Bledisloe Cup.

They won three out of their four matches on their northern hemisphere tour losing only to Ireland in Chicago. 

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