McBride hopes NZ series has ‘saved Lions’

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The Lions and All Blacks pose for a joint picture after the drawn series

British and Irish Lions legend Willie John McBride hopes the brand has been “saved” by the series in New Zealand.

There has been pressure from some clubs to shorten the length of the Lions tour, sparking fears for its future.

But speaking after the series ended 1-1 following Saturday’s 15-15 draw, McBride said: “The concept is unique and it’s gone for more than 100 years.

“It would be dreadful in the professional era if it’s ever messed around with.”

Former Ireland lock McBride is the Lions’ most-capped player, having played in 17 Tests from 1962 to 1974, when he led the only unbeaten team in the tourists’ history.

The 77-year-old told BBC Radio 5 live’s Sportsweek: “The one thing I feel sorry about is the tour is too short and the players really haven’t had time to gel together.”

Owen Farrell slotted a late penalty on Saturday to level the scores at 15-15 and share the three-Test series with New Zealand.

“It’s been a tremendous achievement. A lot of people had written them off before they left,” said McBride.

He dismissed the notion of the Lions playing matches at home.

“To play at home would be a nonsense,” he said.

Lions 2017: Warren Gatland clown nose response to cartoon
Lions tour results
3 June Provincial Barbarians Won 13-7
7 June Blues Lost 22-16
10 June Crusaders Won 12-3
13 June Highlanders Lost 23-22
17 June Maori All Blacks Won 32-10
20 June Chiefs Won 34-6
24 June New Zealand Lost 30-15
27 June Hurricanes Drew 31-31
1 July New Zealand Won 24-21
8 July New Zealand Drew 15-15

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