Lions tour: Lions need greyhounds to finish off All Blacks, says Sir Clive Woodward

Kyle Sinckler, an impact sub with England could be utilised in the same role for the Lions against the All Blacks.
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Kyle Sinckler, an impact sub with England could be utilised in the same role for the Lions against the All Blacks.

Former Lions coach Sir Clive Woodward says the tourists need "greyhounds" to fly off the bench and close out tests against the All Blacks.

The Lions face the All Blacks next Saturday in the first test at Eden Park after the Chiefs in Hamilton on Tuesday, following their 32-10 victory over New Zealand Maori in Rotorua.

Woodward, Lions coach in New Zealand in 2005, pointed out last year's series when the All Blacks beat Warren Gatland's Wales 3-0 with particularly strong finishes in each test.

The quality the All Blacks brought off the bench compared to what Wales had was evident, and Woodward said if Gatland's Lions were to avoid a similar fate, they would need to start with a "warrior" XV before sending out "greyhounds" to finish the tests.

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Could Jordie Barrett be an impact sub for the All Blacks against the Lions?
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Could Jordie Barrett be an impact sub for the All Blacks against the Lions?

"This is an occasion where the Lions could really make the bench work for them because they have such a strong group," he wrote in the Daily Mail, saying the All Blacks had "mastered the art" of upping their tempo and intensity in the final quarter to win tests.

"If the Lions are going to win rather than just be competitive it seems to me they need their 'greyhounds' and best athletes on for that last 30 minutes," he added.

"And working back from that I would start with my 'warrior' XV, the players who bring physicality and harsh defence to proceedings, the sort of play we saw the Lions employ successfully against the Crusaders and against the Maori."

Sir Clive Woodward was Lions coach in New Zealand in 2005.
REUTERS

Sir Clive Woodward was Lions coach in New Zealand in 2005.

The Lions restricted the Crusaders and the Maori to just three and 10 points respectively - and kept them scoreless in the second half.

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Woodward said the Lions should adopt a "low-key public approach" ahead of the first test because the All Blacks are still big favourites given their record at Eden Park.

They've not lost there since 1994 and won 36 times with the one draw.

British and Irish Lions tour dates in New Zealand - June/July 2017

3 June:   NZ Barbarians v Lions - Toll Stadium, Whangarei 
7 June:   Blues v Lions -  Eden Park, Auckland 
10 June: Crusaders v Lions - AMI Stadium, Christchurch
13 June: Highlanders v Lions - Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
17 June: Māori All Blacks v Lions - Rotorua International Stadium, Rotorua
20 June: Chiefs v Lions - Waikato Stadium, Hamilton
24 June: All Blacks v Lions -  Eden Park, Auckland 
27 June: Hurricanes v Lions - Westpac Stadium, Wellington
1 July:    All Blacks v Lions - Westpac Stadium, Wellington
8 July:    All Blacks v Lions - Eden Park, Auckland

"Given that New Zealand have also won back-to-back World Cups, I would make it quite clear to the media that the Lions are enormous underdogs," Woodward said.

"I would stress at every turn what a massive shock and unbelievable turn of events it would be for the Lions to win at Eden Park on Saturday.

"Steve Hansen and the All Blacks shouldn't be allowed at any stage to get away with statements claiming this to be a 50-50 match."

 - Stuff

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