McGeechan: Lions need time to switch off

Ian McGeechan has emphasised the importance of the British & Irish Lions' downtime as they continue their preparations for the three-Test series against the All Blacks. [more]

Lions Australia Tour 2013

Ian McGeechan has emphasised the importance of the British & Irish Lions’ downtime as they continue their preparations for the three-Test series against the All Blacks.

The Lions fell to a disappointing 19-13 defeat against New Zealand Maori on Saturday and take on Wellington in the first of their final three warm-up games on Wednesday before the opening Test on June 25.

But the assistant coach is happy their schedule allows the players to enjoy themselves between games as the team took part in a day of jet-boating and helicopter rides at the Waimakariri river.

McGeechan said: "It was just what the doctor ordered after the intense weekend’s rugby. It is important the players get a balance.

"If they are thinking about rugby every day of the week then you lose the freshness and what we want is that freshness and the ability to switch on.

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"You want excitement in rugby, so we are giving them something of the old Lions tour where you see a bit of the country you wouldn’t otherwise see and you are meeting new people outside the game.

"Now their minds are off rugby which is important so when they step back on the pitch they have that enthusiasm again."

The four-time Lions coach revealed he will be aiming to do something similar with the players who do not make the Test team to help relieve the obvious disappointments they will have and help maintain a strong mentality in the squad.

He added: "I’m quite keen to do something along these lines once the Test team is picked. I feel I have to look after the players who don’t make the squad and do some non-rugby things to give us a focus in a different way.

"That is a crucial time and the players know that. The Test players will have the excitement of getting ready for the match, so we will do something with the rest of the squad.

"Every successful tour is about the midweek players and their reaction to missing out. That is what creates the right environment and you can get the really supportive one-team mentality."

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