Graham Henry: Momentum key to successful Lions series

The tourists face a daunting schedule this summer

BY Simon Maguire 10:00 Tuesday 18 April 2017, 10:00 18 Apr 2017

All Blacks head coach Graham Henry in 2011. Image: ©INPHO/Photosport/Ella Brockelsby

The only man to have coached both New Zealand and the British and Irish Lions believes momentum will be key if the tourists are to claim only their second ever series win against the All Blacks.

Graham Henry has highlighted the tough scheudle - which sees the Lions play all five Super Rugby franchises as well as the New Zealand Maori as a possible stumbling block to the ultimate goal of a test series win.

The last time the Lions visited Aotearoa they were hammered 3-0 in the test series and lost to the Moari in the build up to it.

Speaking to ESPN, Henry said: "I know from my own experiences how much the players respect getting selected for the Lions. It is the pinnacle of their career. It is massive but they need to do well and I just wonder if the itinerary is suicidal. That is my concern.

Captain Martin Johnson, Manager Donal Lenihan and Coach Graham Henry at a press conference ahead of the 2001 tour to Australia. Image: ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

"They are playing New Zealand Maori, they are playing the five franchise teams - and those five franchise teams have nothing to lose, no pressure on them at all, so they will fire everything at the Lions and take them on.

"Hopefully they have the ability to overcome that. But really when you tour, you need to ensure some momentum is created by results and you just wonder how they are going to go into the test series with that itinerary. It is very demanding."

New Zealand became the first side to retain the Rugby World Cup after their victory in England in 2015. They a have also only lost once since

The Lions squad for the tour is due to be named tomorrow. 

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