Lions will have to keep ball alive - Flutey

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    15 May 2017     Getty Images

The peripatetic Flutey has a unique international record having played for the Lions (one Test) and England (14 Tests), as well as 38 games for the Hurricanes and for the Maori All Blacks.


Flutey believes the tour will be the toughest the Lions have faced in 87 years of touring New Zealand.

He told The Rugby Paper: "When the Lions came over in 2005 a couple of NPC (national provincial championship) teams were there and thereabouts and gave them a good shout, but now they're coming in and playing next tier up, the Super Rugby teams.

"They are going to be tough matches for the Lions because the skill level that the professional players are bringing here in New Zealand are ahead of the game," he said.

It was a feature of all teams, not just one or two. Sides were moving the point of attack and not creating rucks by keeping the ball alive and it was an impressive tactic.

The Sonny Bill Williams offload technique was almost a stock draw and pass nowadays in New Zealand.

"Also, because of the way all the Super Rugby teams are counter-attacking now, the Lions will need to kick smart – either by finding some grass or the seats in the stand," he said.

Flutey said he was interested in the type of attacking game the Lions played.

"I know their defence is going to be awesome because, the whole time I was over there [in England], we had defensive coaches and the amount of detail they put into that is the same as what us growing up here in New Zealand put into our attack.

"They're going to be big and physical which is what they always are, but they are going to have to keep the ball alive, because when the All Blacks see an opportunity to attack that breakdown, they'll attack it and turn the ball over, and I'm not sure the Lions will be able to do that for 80 minutes.

"The first few games will tell us a lot," Flutey said.