White issues British and Irish Lions a warning

Brumbies coach Jake White says that if the British and Irish Lions don’t win the first test match against Australia’s Wallabies they could become obsolete.

Former Springbok coach White says that the Lions are in a very strong position to win this year’s tour but they need to win their first tour since 1997 in order to maintain interest.

“You don’t want to be going to New Zealand in four years’ time and it being 20 years without a series win,” White told the Independent.

“The romantic side of the Lions tours, with playing provincial sides, is great. But if you’re not winning a series, what is the point? “

“The Lions need to win this series to prove that the idea still works and that it is relevant.”

White says that whoever wins the opening Test match in Brisbane this weekend will go on to win the series.

The Brumbies coach would not committ to who he thought would win the series but did say that the Lions are in a great position to win it despite their injury issues.

“I would suggest that the front row they will play on Saturday will be totally different to the one they were planning to play in the opening Test. “

“(Cian) Healy and (Dylan) Hartley were going to play I think so they’ve had to change their plans there.

“But apart from the further injuries to (Jamie) Roberts and (Tommy) Bowe, they have had the perfect run-in.”

“If I were planning a Lions tour it is exactly how I would have wanted the matches and the results to go.”

The 2007 World Cup winning coach added that the Lions should be considered as favourites to secure victory in the series.

“They are playing against a team who have not played in a long time, are going with a new 10 (James O’Connor) and who have no momentum.”

“If the Lions don’t win this Test series you have to ask, when are they ever likely to?”

“There’s so much pressure on this first Test, whoever wins this will win the series,” White said.

However White did issue a warning for the Lions by saying that there is so much pressure on the Lions they could crumble if they don’t win the first test.

“I think Warren knows that this Lions side will crumble if they don’t win in Brisbane. They have staked everything on winning that first Test match.”

“They played in Hong Kong in the heat, in the rain against the Reds, they’ve tried combinations against the Waratahs and they rested players against us.

“And that’s fine, Gatland knows that this first Test will make or break the series,” White told the Telegraph.

“They will believe with the game time, combinations and time they’ve had to gel on-field performances with off-field synergies and dynamics will be enough to carry them through.”

White believes that the team that loses the first Test on Saturday in Brisbane will be “psychologically broken” and specifically a loss for the Lions would put Gatland’s decision to build the core of his starting XV around Wales’ Six Nations-winning side under fire.

“The Wallabies are banking on the fact that the home ground in Brisbane is where they play their best rugby,” White said.

“If they don’t win there, it is highly unlikely they are going to play better rugby in Melbourne and then in Sydney.

“They’ve got (Will) Genia and (James) Horwill who love playing there, they will be banking that if they are to win a Test match, they will be looking to win that one in Brisbane.

“Conversely the Lions, with the dynamics they have of playing North, Cuthbert and Halfpenny, which is the Wales back three, and playing Warburton as a captain, who is the Wales captain, if they lose this Test match, the other countries’ players are going to be banging on the door saying, ‘OK, we need to change’.”

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