Lions tour manager Gerald Davies is expecting to see some impressive individual and team performances during the forthcoming Six Nations.
Davies, who forms a key part of the Lions management team for the summer tour to South Africa, believes the presence of the Lions tour will act as an extra incentive throughout an always exciting and enthralling competition.
“The Six Nations is a great carnival of a competition and even more so this year as it is the Lions year,” said Davies, who was himself a Lion on the historic 1971 tour of New Zealand.
“Every year the Six Nations is a wonderful competition, it shortens the winter months!
“This year, the Lions will be a big factor in concentrating the minds of all four home countries.”
After watching a number of international games during an autumn series in which only one home union secured a victory over the southern hemisphere big three, Davies is confident that all four countries will have plenty more to cheer about this time around.
“I am expecting to see much better performances from the four home nations and for them to play much better than we saw in the autumn,” he added.
“No one can doubt the disappointment after the games in the autumn but I have no doubt that there will be some terrific performances awaiting all four nations.
“These are international players, playing at the highest level and you expect them to be on top form. Unlike in November, this is a combined series. Each weekend is meaningful and you have the needle of competition because, after seven weeks, there will be a champion. That is a big, big incentive for those playing in the tournament.”
Like Lions head coach Ian McGeechan, Davies will be keeping a watchful eye on many of the Six Nations fixtures, as well as those in domestic competition before, during and after the tournament.
“I’m going to games where I am most likely to see as many players as possible,” explained Davies.
”But even after the Six Nations finishes, we’ll also be watching the Heineken Cup and some of the domestic games post the Championship which will be important opportunities to see players prior to the final selection and the squad announcement in April.”