x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

British & Irish Lions look set to roar for more tours to come

The Lions could look to the future with some quiet confidence after their triumphal exploits in Australia.

Injury kept Sam Warburton, left, from contributing in the final Test, giving Alun Wyn Jones, right, a chance to shine as captain. But Warburton figures to have many more tours with the Lions ahead.
Injury kept Sam Warburton, left, from contributing in the final Test, giving Alun Wyn Jones, right, a chance to shine as captain. But Warburton figures to have many more tours with the Lions ahead.

One of the very best things about British & Irish Lions series is the fact it is a climax in itself, and never part of the greater scheme of development.

You never hear the disclaimer from either side: oh, we will take the positives out of this, it is a learning curve, we are building for the future, or any of that sort of cobblers.

The matches are do or die. It is what gives the series gravitas, the knowledge that the touring players will not be able to right wrongs for four years, while the home players will probably never get the chance again as the tours come round every 12 years.

Having said all that, the Lions could look to the future with some quiet confidence after their triumphal exploits in Australia.

Granted, they have a better record there than anywhere else. Australia is the only port among their three tours - the others being New Zealand and South Africa - where they have a winning record. Their next tour, New Zealand in four years time, is probably their toughest assignment.

However, Sam Warburton, the young leader of the 2013 vintage, was right to suggest this week that the New Zealand series will not be mission impossible. Much can change in that time. But he should still be around, as should the likes of Jonathan Davies, Justin Tipuric, Geoff Parling and George North.

Furthermore, England and Wales contested an all-British Junior World Championship last month. The well of talent looked huge. The future for the Lions is looking rosy.

 

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