Lions assistant coach Andy Farrell is focused on building squad belief

20 April 2017 10:09

Andy Farrell has underlined the importance of belief when the British and Irish Lions tackle New Zealand this summer.

The Lions last beat New Zealand in a Test series 46 years ago, which underlines the degree of difficulty facing them.

The 41-man Lions squad that will embark on mission improbable next month contains 14 players - eight Irish and six English - who have featured on winning teams against the All Blacks.

And while Ireland's stunning victory against New Zealand in Chicago was only five months ago, Ireland defence coach and Lions assistant Farrell knows that a new and unique challenge now awaits.

"It doesn't make you have any super power that you have been involved in a side that has beaten the All Blacks, because we all know on any given day, any game is different and takes its own flow," Farrell said.

"The common denominator what I've seen in being successful against the All Blacks is having players who can deal with the flow of the game as it is unfolding in front of your face.

"The game will take its own shape, and they (All Blacks) certainly will have their purple patch within all their games. It's how we can stay on track, or get back on track and get back at them.

"You have got to play our game. Everyone is aware of the All Blacks' way of playing - it's another thing stopping it.

"You can get obsessed with what the All Blacks are about, and everyone has been for a long period of time.

"You have got to play your game and understand what you are good at and how you are going to attack them with, or without, the ball.

"I think it is about the belief as a squad, belief in your team-mate at the side of you and belief in yourself when you go out there.

"I think that galvanises over the first three or four weeks (of the tour), and that will be the focus."

Attention now switches from the Lions to this weekend's European Champions Cup and Challenge Cup semi-finals - up to 17 of the Lions squad are likely to be involved - highlighted by Saracens' Champions Cup clash against Munster in Dublin.

"Quite a lot of them have got a big weekend coming up," Farrell added.

"So they need to park it (Lions) and put full steam ahead into what is coming over the next month because we want guys getting on the plane in good form.

"There might be a few ups and downs with results, etc, but we want guys buzzing, getting on that plane.

"What a game (Munster v Saracens) that is going to be. Two sides that are very confident in the way they are playing, two sides that seem to be comfortable in what they are about as men and as a team.

"I think Saracens have been masters over the last period of time of playing the game in front of them, no matter where they are playing.

"But I am sure they are aware of the army of red that is going to come to the Aviva (Stadium), and a Munster side that is bang on form at this moment in time. I wouldn't call it, I definitely wouldn't."

Source: PA