Lions tour will be ‘hardest of all time’

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Gatland, head coach of the Lions for his third tour, also toured South Africa as an assistant Lions coach, but the influence of the Covid-19 pandemic will cast its shadow over the tour.

 

Young said it wouldn't be so much the playing that tested the Lions, as keeping them fresh off the field while confined in their Covid bubble.

 

"There is nobody more experienced than Warren Gatland, and he knows how to get the best out of teams. But this is a different kettle of fish for any coach," Young told dai-sport.com.

 

"The Lions will have the same pressure about performances on the field, but the Covid restrictions will add pressure off it. It will be the same for both teams, but it is not going to make it any easier for the Lions.

 

"They will have to become very tight as a group, and we know they will give everything for the cause," he said.

 

The important thing in maintaining the players' freshness would be ensuring it was not rugby 24/7.

 

Young had his first Lions tour in 1989 to Australia, then toured South Africa in 1997 and returned to Australia in 2001.

 

 

Now a premiership coach in England, Young understands the issues of coaching a side under Covid restraints.

 

"Mentally, this tour will be the hardest tour of all time. When you go on a Lions tour, the interest and fan support is huge, and, sometimes, it is difficult to get away from it all.

 

"It can sometimes be hard to get away from rugby, but it is going to be very difficult this time if you are stuck in a hotel all day long. They have got to find ways to escape.

 

"The first tour I went on in 1989 was the most memorable for me. It was back in the amateur days, and we had some real characters on that tour.

 

"We were professionals in every aspect other than we weren't paid to play. Although we worked hard, we also enjoyed ourselves.

 

"Some people think it is all about having a few beers, but it was more than that. The camaraderie and banter was excellent. The other two trips were good as well, but 1989 was an experience I will never forget," Young said.

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