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All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen begins the mind games as the Lions prepare to land in New Zealand

The Independent logo The Independent 30/05/2017 Jack Austin

© Provided by Independent Print Limited The British and Irish Lions have not even landed in New Zealand yet and already the mind games have started as All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen has questioned their hectic schedule.

Warren Gatland’s 41-man squad arrive in Auckland on Wednesday and will have little over 48 hours to adjust to the time differences, get over their jet-lag and make their way to Whangarei before playing their first warm-up game against the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians on Saturday.

They then have just three weeks from their first tour game to the first Test against the All Blacks and Hansen has admitted that he would be worried having that little amount of time to prepare for a series overseas against the best team in the world.

“You'd want to be there a week at the minimum,” the 58-year-old told The Times. “It's nicer to be longer than that. When we tour we have total control over when we leave the country.”

The Lions waited until the conclusion of the Premiership season to fly out to New Zealand as a full squad. But, with so few of the squad actually involved in Saturday’s final, Hansen has questioned why the rest of the squad didn’t fly out earlier to acclimatise.

“If most of them are not playing,” he added, “what's stopping them getting on a plane now with most of the squad, for example?

“The option you've got is for the sake of the team. We'll get over there and we'll see (the rest of) you when you get here.

“What they are asking them to do is pretty difficult, get here Wednesday, play Saturday.”

The Lions go out to New Zealand in confident mood, with a about a quarter of the squad having beaten the All Blacks within the last 12 months with Ireland and Hansen knows how tough the challenge is for is men, let alone Gatland’s.

r to that first Test.”

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