Preparations are well underway for the British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand in 2017, with team manager John Spencer set to visit the country.
Spencer knows all about the hype which surrounds one of the biggest sporting events in history, having captained England and represented the Lions in New Zealand in 1971.
Spencer told the official Lions website that he cannot wait for the tour to get underway.
“When I think about one year to go my over-riding emotion is one of excitement,” said Spencer.
“But also it would be foolish to say I am not nervous. I am fully aware that this is a huge challenge – to play the All Blacks on their home surface,” he added.
“It is a big undertaking for us because the Lions is bigger than ever – particularly in New Zealand where rugby union is the number one sport.
“We are going to play two Tests against New Zealand at Eden Park, where they haven’t lost since 1994, and one in Wellington, so we are fully aware of the task and that is why we are preparing early and preparing thoroughly.”
Spencer said that he will be reviewing the team’s facilities and training bases on his visit to New Zealand in order to make sure that they go into the tour in the best possible shape.
He explained: “We want to give the players the best facilities to get them in peak condition and give them the best opportunity to win the games.”