/ Rugby

Lions boss looks past autumn losses

Updated: Thursday, 27 Nov 2008 16:20

Gerald Davies says the autumn losses will not depress the potential Lions squad
Gerald Davies says the autumn losses will not depress the potential Lions squad

Gerald Davies, who will manage the British and Irish Lions to South Africa next summer, has said that the home nations must not get depressed by another set of disappointing results in the autumn internationals.

The Tri-Nations trio of world number ones New Zealand, world champions South Africa and Australia have won all their games this November for a record of played seven, won seven.

This Saturday sees Wales taking on Australia and England hosting the All Blacks in the final chance to upset the bandwagon.

The games also represent an opportunity to put up their hands for a shot at being named in the Lions squad.

‘I expect Wales to win this weekend. I think they deserve to because they have performed well this November, but have not got the results,’ Davies said, quoted by the Western Mail newspaper.

‘But it's not a matter of deserving, it's a matter of turning up and actually winning.

‘I don't know why, but for whatever reason the home countries haven't performed as they should have during the November campaign. We would have preferred better results.

‘We will be undertaking a detailed analysis of the autumn internationals and that is the kind of thing we will study in the days to come.

‘Yes, we would have liked a more encouraging autumn. But we must not permit what has happened to depress us.

‘Rather, we must use it as an inspiration for when the important time comes and we go to South Africa.

‘This has reinforced to the Lions management and the players just how hard we have to work to beat sides from the southern hemisphere.’

Davies acknowledged that wins for either Wales or England this Saturday would give players a head-start in earning selection for the initial 60-strong Lions squad, due to be announced on January 20.

‘It would be great. It would lift the supporters, every one of us,’ said Davies.

‘Ian McGeechan, as head coach, will have been looking at the scores of the last few weeks and wishing they were better.

‘But we are not unduly concerned because it's a nine-month season and there is still some way to go. The autumn is still being played and we have got the Six Nations to come.

‘What is going to be increasingly important is European competition in the shape of the European and Challenge Cups.

‘We decided, some time ago, we would not finish our research at the Six Nations.

‘We will go beyond it and look at Europe, because we are talking about two competitive cup competitions, with fixtures being like mini-internationals, when you consider the tensions, stresses and need to win.’

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