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Wyn Jones under no illusions of tour intensity

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Lynn McConnell     02 Jun 2017     Getty Images

The 110-Test veteran for Wales, who has also played six Tests for the Lions, watched Wales against the Chiefs in their only midweek game of last year's June tour of New Zealand, a game the Chiefs won 40-7.

But this year it is each of the Investec Super Rugby franchises who are involved and he knew the intensity exhibited by the below-strength Chiefs team of that game would be repeated by each of the sides this time around.

"When we were here it was the tail end of the season, and it's the same this year, but when we played the Chiefs we were probably out-smarted. I'm not going to use any excuses, the quality of the play that was produced that day, particularly from the Beaver [Stephen Donald], was good to watch probably for the neutral but not for ourselves.


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"I think that level of intensity is going to be existing as well throughout the course of the tour," he said.

"It's down to ourselves then to be able to get to a level where we can maintain that obviously with the change of personnel leading up to the Tests so it's definitely going to be a tour where we are red-lining all the way," he said.

Initially, however, there was the opening game of the tour to set a trend. While the Lions are expected to win the game against a scratch NZ Provincial Barbarians side, there would be benefits from the outing, even if the side were still settling in after only arriving on Wednesday.

The NZ Provincial Barbarians were an unknown quantity.

Wyn Jones said the Lions side for Whangarei were the first out of the blocks and they wanted to make sure they gave some momentum for the rest of the tour.

Gelling what was a diverse selection for the first game would be more important than any other consideration, he said.

"I've been involved and watched games like this before and these players you play against they grow two inches, they grow an extra arm, an extra leg and are able to cover a lot more metreage, get faster because they're having an opportunity they might not get again and I think from our point of view it's an opportunity that we might not get again as well," he said.

There would be things to work on coming from the game and that was also vital for the development of the side.

Although they had reduced opportunities in training ahead of the tour they had been trying to emulate the level of physicality they can expect on the tour but the mental side was just as important.

"A lot of these games are probably going to come down to the wire, I've alluded to the intensity, and the level of decision-making at crucial points that New Zealand teams are able to produce consistently, so that goes hand-in-hand with the physical side of things," he said.