As the well planned rugby invasion of New Zealand nears, not only are the British and Irish Lions team setting up for the five week tour, but rugby fans and followers are hugely interested. To maximize that high awareness, Last Word on Rugby is beginning our new regular column, the ‘2017 Tour Pinboard’.
Filled with news, updates from each side, a player fitness rating, views and social media reaction by players and fans. Also, for those heading towards Aotearoa, we will hope to include some helpful information for the traveling ‘Red Army’.
British and Irish Lions ‘2017 Tour Pinboard’
Lions First Squad Meeting
The main picture above shows the first full squad meeting for the first time. Brought together at the Syon Park Hotel, it allowed the British and Irish Lions administration to make crucial logistics planning, and to fit-out the players for their kit and team apparel.
As the predictions and assumptions mount, fans and commentators start to imagine who will face the All Blacks on June 24. From The Times, to ESPN Scrum, each will ponder the decision that can only be made by Warren Gatland and his group by mid June.
Last Word on Rugby’s own James Kimber has named his Lions starting XV here.
Lions Flashback Series
Follow the full series of ten Lions flashback video features, to reflect on the past before looking ahead to the beginning of the 2017 tour proper; June 3 against the NZ Provincial Barbarians at Toll Stadium, Whangarei.
#5 Lions Flashback: 1966 New Zealand v British Lions Series https://t.co/ZU4gTw2eWB
Both Sides Coaches Waiting on Injuries
This weekend in New Zealand, Israel Dagg played his first game of club rugby, on the road to the Lions test series. He is one of many current players from each opposing side, who seem to be on ‘the road to recovery’. A strange sense, because both sides need to be at their peak for June 24 [at least]. Because selecting an unfit player to travel makes little sense to fans–but the bigger picture maybe more fluid.
Dagg is not the only man who is on the ‘countdown to the Lions’ and joins captain Kieran Read, as well as opposition skipper Sam Warburton. He may actually only see three warm-up games to prove his fitness to face the All Blacks….an amazing omission, for the skipper of the British and Irish Lions squad.
While the top four Premier Rugby sides prepare for the major semi-finals, men not involved will be available to make preparations. That is a positive, but it is the health of both current squads that will take the attention of both rugby watchers and the world media.
Lions Facts #1
- 38: Number of tests played against the All Blacks
- 6: Number of wins for the Lions team
- 1993: Last victory over the All Blacks – 20-7 in Wellington
- 5: Number of test whitewashes by the All Blacks
- 1: Out of 11 tours the Lions have only won a single test series; 2-1 in 1971
Some say that the true reflection of the success of a tour by the Lions, is how the local hospitality benefits. Where visitors and locals create new friendships and relationships are continued. So over the course of this ‘2017 Lions pinboard’ our aim will be to promote engagement between host and visitor.
Unlike the corporate explanation, engagement level between fans is key. On the base level, face-to-face rugby fans can always relate. And creating those opportunities is key to how much all the groups enjoy their visit. Be it through an organized tour, or a couple driving a camper van from match venue, to match venue.
And when you consider all the elements involved in such a major tour, it is no wonder that so many rugby fans attention is peaking. Once in every four years, and only every 12 years for the host nation–it is bound to take most people’s attention.
So over the next two months, enjoy the attention that Last Word on Rugby places on the upcoming tour. Our ‘2017 tour pinboard’ is going to shine a light on the news, views and updates on players and fans .
“Main photo credit”