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  Sunday, 15 July, 2001, 14:29 GMT 15:29 UK
Henry wants Lions overhaul
Graham Henry Lions coach
Henry wants a different approach in the future
Lions coach Graham Henry has called for changes to the way tours are run in the future.

The New Zealander believes the make-up of the side and the time of year at which it plays should be changed.

He said: "The best way we could have done it was to have had a smaller party, play for six Saturdays, prepare the team for the first three games and then for the three Test matches.

"Then you can have maximum preparation for each game and everybody would feel they'd had a fair go."


You'd like to give the guy a cuddle or a pat on the back, but the reality is that someone is not going to get selected
Graham Henry
The tour was dogged by complaints from several leading players about a lack of opportunity to prove themselves and overly-rigorous training.

The midweek side - nicknamed Dai's Driftwoods after skipper Dai Young - was particularly affected.

"Those guys were used to big Test matches for their countries and it's foreign to them, not ideal," Henry said.

But he maintained that players should have had the "maturity" to handle not making the Test XV.

"These sort of things were talked about before the tour.

"We knew there would be disappointed players because they didn't get the nod from the selectors for the Test team.

"Although you'd like to give the guy a cuddle or a pat on the back, the reality is that one player is going to be better than another and someone is not going to get selected," Henry said.

Scott Quinnell was one player who struggled with injury
Scott Quinnell was one player who struggled with injury
With many of the squad complaining of tiredness and pundits suspecting fatigue had crept in to the end of the tour, Henry hinted that the global scheduling of rugby should be changed.

He wanted players from both sides to be at the top of their game at the same time.

"You need players in their peak condition. That would be November or December for the Lions or right now for Australia," he said.

In order for that to happen, rugby would need to become a summer sport in either the northern or southern hemisphere.

Even with a series defeat such a move is considered unlikely.

But Henry paid respect to the Australian team, who are widely regarded as the best side in rugby.

"I don't think there is much doubt about the fact that they are the best team in the world because they can handle the pressures very well," added Henry.

"But it would be interesting to see if you had the Australian side touring the UK after 11 months of rugby and after 50-odd club games," he added.

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"The build-up was hugely frustrating"

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