Sir Clive Woodward has revealed his belief that less travelling and more meeting the public will be key to the success of the 2005 British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand .
The Lions head coach was speaking in Auckland , where he is visiting training and hotel facilities ahead the tour. His flying visit also takes in the two other centres at which the Lions will be based, Wellington and Christchurch .
Sir Clive insisted his 44-man squad will be on "the best-prepared Lions tour ever" and that he and his management team had learned valuable lessons from the 2001 to Australia , on which the Test series was lost 2-1.
He said: " What I picked up from that tour was there was a lot of travelling, and that it wasn’t the happiest tour. So I spoke to a lot of coaches and players who went on that tour, really sat down and re-thought the whole thing."
As well as the 44-man squad – the number of players used in Australia once replacements had been flown out to join the party – Woodward will introduce another innovation in basing his Lions in fewer centres than usual, to avoid the constant travelling the 2001 side endured.
He will also ensure the players get out and meet their hosts in community-based activities he believes are essential to the health of Lions tours in the long-term, as well as to the success of the forthcoming trip.
Woodward said: "The Lions in 2001 did not have a single community event, not one. I think that was a huge error on their behalf.
"I feel it is absolutely right that the players are encouraged to go and do these community activities and I think that it is good for the tour, it is good for them and we will deliver everything we possibly can do.
"It is my absolute determination to make sure, firstly, that we have a winning Test match series. But very closely behind that, I passionately believe that every player, every coach, every person on this trip and hopefully everyone in New Zealand will come away having enjoyed the experience of coming down here."
The tour begins on June 4 against Bay of Plenty in Rotorua.