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Sam Warburton believes Lions squad capable of handling New Zealand tour schedule

Sam Warburton believes Lions squad capable of handling New Zealand tour schedule

Coach Warren Gatland added that victory in the test series would be the true marker of whether the team were a success.

He might have said something like "I don't believe a word of it".

He is not the only one raring to go, with fellow starter and Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones keen to get going. The more times you face up to it, you don't mind it.

While previous Lions teams have had much larger itineraries, none has been as intense as the one they are about to face, which Gatland has described as "crazy". You become familiar with it.

"The only thing we're disappointed in on the domestic side is the preparation time, we're trying to fit six weeks' preparation into a couple of weeks with only part of our squad", said Spencer.

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British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland has named his first squad of their New Zealand tour, with two New Zealand-born players in the squad. It will be unbelievable if the Lions can do well against the best side in the world.

This year's tour to New Zealand, the reigning world champions, will no doubt be a challenge - the victorious 2013 tour to Australia was the first overall series win for the Lions since 1997.

Warburton, who is returning from a knee injury that sidelined him in April, will lead a powerful line-up against a Provincial Barbarians XV in Whangarei on Saturday.

"We know it's going to be tough, it's going to be physical, but at no stage do I think these games will go over the top in terms of physicality".

"Anyone who has been following Super Rugby will see there are players who you've never heard of producing outstanding Test class performances week in week out".

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"And I'm confident that all the teams we come up against will go in there with hopefully the same attitude of playing some good rugby on the field, and some entertaining rugby as well".

The book is structured as a chronological account of the tour, presented nearly as a round-table conversation, so that players of both sides debate who threw the first punch in the battle of X, or whether the sustained by Y and Z were the result of planned thuggery or the outcome of legitimate rucking.

Those who missed the early stages of training due to club commitments are still being phased in and brought up to speed.

Gatland also says it is vital to avoid the mistake made by the former Lions coach Graham Henry in 2001 if the touring team is to beat the All Blacks in the forthcoming Test series.

Ireland and Ulster centre and full back Jared Payne and Leinster and Ireland prop Tadhg Furlong are the duo who will be tasked with providing an impact from the substitutes bench for that opening match.

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"I said "perhaps you could give me all your calls and moves" and he said "as long as you let me run through a big hole in the first few minutes", Gatland told reporters after arriving on Wednesday.


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