Lions to face full strength Super Rugby teams

Date published: September 6 2016

The British and Irish Lions could face All Black players when they face New Zealand’s Super Rugby teams on next year’s tour.

The Lions have a hectic playing schedule on their tour of New Zealand in 2017 where they will face the Blues, Crusaders and Highlanders. It has now been revealed those teams will be able to select their All Black internationals for the tour games.

Internationals are usually rested for tour matches to keep them fresh for the three Tests against the Lions, but All Black selector Grant Fox revealed they would be following a different approach.

“The Super Rugby sides will be loaded up with All Blacks early because there’s a bit of time from game one to the first Test,” Fox told the New Zealand Herald.

“They need to play and then as we get closer to the Tests some of those franchises will have less access to the All Blacks as we start preparing for the series.”

The tour comprises of five fixtures against Super Rugby sides, matches against a provincial union team, the New Zealand Maori and three Tests.

Warren Gatland, who is set to be unveiled as the Lions’ head coach in Edinburgh on Wednesday, said earlier this year about the tour schedule: “It’s not unwinnable but it’s a very, very tough schedule.”