Good squad but pressure on Lions, says All Blacks coach Hansen

After hearing his name read out as part of the British and Irish Lions' squad to tour New Zealand this summer, Wasps' centre Elliot Daly was taking a little time to absorb the news.

So, with the extended Lions squad now known and with both head coaches extolling their own sides' respective strengths, the battle lines have been drawn and the countdown to the highly anticipated tour has begun.

"I'm very, very disappointed considering there's 41 players there and we haven't got one forward out of the 22 or whatever it is forwards", said the Scot.

When the Lions last toured New Zealand in 2005, they lost the Test series 3-0.

Hansen shot back that the Lions staff would not want to base their selections on that result, given the All Blacks defeated the Irish 21-9 two weeks later in Dublin.

"They've got enough good players there".

"To be honest with you, it's a big occasion for the coaching team as well". But he found rugby and developed as a player in this very soil and has the fire and brimstone so desperately missing from northern hemisphere teams at times.

The low number had been expected but there was still a palpable sense of disappointment yesterday that a Scotland team which has shown vast improvement in the last couple of years under Vern Cotter has gained such scant recognition.

"It wasn't the leadership and competitiveness - obviously Dylan Hartley has done a great job in terms of that for England - but if we picked Dylan and left out Jamie or Rory or Ken, we'd be asking the same questions".

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He said Scotland would feel "aggrieved" at only having two players in the touring party but said the overall squad had depth and looked "pretty good".

"He's only ever going to impress and the more you see of him, the more he impresses you with his skill-set, the pace he covers the ground at and his work rate".

"Our guys in the big moments have done us proud, Beauden [Barrett] and Crudes [Aaron Cruden]".

He said the All Blacks were used to the psychological burden of playing as favourites but it would be a new experience for some of the Lions.

I'm a lot more relaxed this time around than I was four years ago because I half know what to expect.

"It's going to be a very good side and they'll come with a lot of expectation and it'll be interesting to see how they cope with that". If you are happy when you turn up for training every Monday, if you keep morale up, you are more likely to get more out of the boys on the field.

While Hansen's predecessor Graham Henry has labelled the itinerary "suicidal", Hansen said any tour of New Zealand was always going to be a challenge.

McLauchlan, who made eight Test appearances for the legendary Lions of 1971 and 1974, retains a passionate support for the concept of the British and Irish select, however, and did express some sympathy with the coaching team over the selection process.

"Gats would have okayed that".

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