Looking at the tour itinerary I expected one easy match against provincial amateurs then nine tough matches.

With this structure, it would allow a definitive comparison between the best of northern and southern hemisphere rugby. I was looking forward to seeing this. The Lions have played as I’d expected but the decision to field under-strength Super franchises has made gauging them difficult. I suspect it has, to some degree made the Lions look better than they possibly are, but it is impossible to say with hand on heart.

Jack Nowell scores against the Chiefs. ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan / www.photosport.nz
Jack Nowell scores against the Chiefs.
©INPHO/Dan Sheridan / www.photosport.nz

This may have been a tactic employed by the NZRU to prevent familiarity with NZ sides. It may be that the All Blacks and the test series are just too important. But after six matches I have mostly been underwhelmed by the NZ performances. Not all of the performances, but certainly a few of them. The Chiefs were well off the pace but were severely depleted. The Crusaders and Maori All Blacks appeared to be strong selections but were a real disappointment to me.

Considering the strength of NZ rugby, I’m surprised by how the Lion’s could dictate play, nullify the opposition and stay within their comfort zone so easily.

Jared Payne scores the fourth try for the Lions against the Chiefs. ©INPHO/Billy Stickland / www.photosport.nz
Jared Payne scores the fourth try for the Lions against the Chiefs.
©INPHO/Billy Stickland / www.photosport.nz

It certainly makes the First Test much more intriguing. Hopefully, the All Blacks can take it up a few notches and show the true level of NZ rugby. I won’t know until then how good the British and Irish Lions are or how poor some of their opponents were.

Photos: www.photosport.nz

Author: Ivan de Farias

I’m an expat kiwi living across the ditch in Melbourne. I love sport especially soccer and rugby and it’s ironic that I can’t call either of them football as over here that is Australian rules.

I spend too much time staying up watching soccer at ungodly hours and playing fantasy football which I’m improving at.

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