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  Saturday, 21 July, 2001, 12:35 GMT 13:35 UK
Gibbs' Lions fatigue fears
Scott Gibbs
Scott Gibbs is a veteran of three Lions tours
Weary British and Irish Lions players have warned that future tours are under threat unless the domestic season is cut short.

Lions veteran Scott Gibbs and team-mate Neil Jenkins said the series defeat in Australia was a tour too far for many of the squad, coming at the end of a gruelling northern hemisphere season.

"We were undone in the end because of our overloaded domestic fixture list, which starts in the middle of August and goes on until the following June," Gibbs told the Guardian.


Players have to start putting themselves first because nobody else is
Neil Jenkins
"As players we have to make a stand and look to bang a few heads together.

"It is no use complaining about the injured players who tried to push themselves through the six weeks, we have to make sure it does not happen again otherwise the Lions could well cease to roar."

Peak

Gibbs' comments were echoed by fellow Lions tourist Matt Dawson, the England scrum-half.

"Some of the players were playing their 40th or 50th games of the season and were simply not at their peak," Dawson said.

(From L-R) Jonny Wilkisnon, Mike Catt and Neil Jenkins
Too much: Jenkins fears the likes of Wilkinson (L) face burn-out
Jenkins added that he feared younger players, such as fellow outside-half Jonny Wilkinson, could suffer burn-out unless moves were made to cut the length of the season.

"Players have to start putting themselves first because nobody else is. Unless they do, the Lions could become history," Jenkins said.

The Lions suffered an horrendous injury toll in Australia, with several players dropping out and regular grumbles that they were being pushed too hard in training after a long season.


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