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Last Updated: Saturday, 4 June, 2005, 11:58 GMT 12:58 UK
Lions in New Zealand Tour Blog
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LATEST UPDATES FROM FANS, REPORTERS, PUNDITS & PLAYERS

1516 BST: Lions star Josh Lewsey, news conference, Rotorua
All week we have been hearing what it means to play for this side. Well, I tell you what, pulling on that red jersey was a really choking moment.

We were presented our jerseys by Gareth Jenkins. I love the guy. He is all heart and you can never knock the guy because he is so genuine.

That is the first time I pulled on a Lions shirt and it was one of the proudest moments of my life. When I was young I dreamed of playing for the Lions. It is a higher accolade than being picked for your country.

[On feeding Gordon D'Arcy for the sixth try:] I could have scored it myself but I didn't want to get the nickname of "Crowbar" early in the tour. It's an easy way of making friends.

1449 BST: Stewart Nelson, Ireland, via e-mail
Dallaglio - big loss. He would have made a big impact on this tour, and will be sorely missed. Impressive start to the tour - all the games will be hotly competed. The Lions played some controlled stuff and they will improve as the tour unfolds, peaking at the right time. Well done, and chin up Lawrence.

1257 BST: Gwlad Gwlad, via messageboards O'Gara was simply shocking. Henson had a below-par game, Bulloch wasn't great, and in general the Lions team lost flow and inspiration. Saying that, it was a Lions win. And there were some excellent performances. Lewsey played brilliantly, as did Peel. Corry brought some great inspiration with him and created some marvellous plays.

1230 BST: Iain Robertson, Five Live, Rotorua
The bottom line is simple. The Lions won their opening match and outscored Bay of Plenty by six tries to two, and they have at least got something to build on. However, it was not a convincing performance and they struggled to beat a very average side. Overall there were too many errors.

But a win is a win, and now the show moves on to New Plymouth and hopefully better things against Taranaki on Wednesday.

0750 BST: Lions captain Brian O'Driscoll, Rotorua
This is a big moment for me and for a lot of guys in the dressing room who are making their first start for the Lions.

We want to put in a big performance and start as we mean to finish.

There were lots of supporters outside the hotel when we left which we did not expect as its the first game on the tour, so that got the goose bumps going already.

0620 BST: Alistair Hignell, Radio Five Live, Rotorua
Dusk is settling and the stadium is filling up. It's a natural amphitheatre with steep slopes on three sides. There are red shirts in their thousands in Rotorua, and they've set up a drinking centre in the middle of town. Some are now filtering into the ground, laying down tarpaulins, and draping all sorts of national flags and Lions emblems around the place.

0500 BST: Undercover Kiwi
Sir Clive Woodward's been forced to defend the size of his squad (he'd have 70 players if he could), the size of his entourage, the size of his ego (no, sorry made that one up) but looking behind the scenes it soon becomes evident why this tour is costing millions of pounds.

He has two Jaguar XJ6 cars at his disposal during the tour. For the record, All Blacks supremo Graham Henry drives a Ford Falcon.

But not only does Woody have two Jags (a wannabe John Prescott perhaps?), his team has 10 Land Rovers to play with on their tour.

This, despite claims that they'll take buses to as many places as possible. Don't believe a word of it - they opted to avoid a three-hour drive through some of the most scenic land in New Zealand and fly from Auckland to Rotorua for the official welcome. No busman's holiday for these lads.

0353 BST: Mark, UK, via e-mail
Just arrived in Rotorua this morning. The atmosphere here is amazing. The locals have really made a huge effort to cater for the crowds. At the minute everyone is fuelling up on booze before heading to the ground in a couple of hours. All I can say is, "get over here it's going to be a mad night tonight".

0353 BST: Col, Ho Chi Minh City
Building up for a great afternoon (2pm kick off here in HCMC)and looking forward to what should be a fantastic Test series. I'm flying to NZ for the 2nd & 3rd Tests - can't wait. No accommodation in Wellington (only there for one night) but we figure we can just drink through it. There may not be many Scots on the pitch but you'll hear the support for sure.

0339 BST: Phil, Melbourne, via e-mail
Driving on Auckland motorways is like playing Russian roulette - Kiwis are maniac drivers. Driving over the Auckland Harbour bridge - 12 lanes wide. Scary.

0306 BST: Wrongsideofthepond, Australia, via e-mail
Having just emigrated down under it is great to be able to wear my heart on my sleeve and cheer the Lions on. I am really looking forward to seeing a focused and 100% committed Lions team giving it their all and beating the All Blacks. I just can't believe I moved to Australia and not NZ. What a muppet.

0251 BST: Stu, Auckland, via e-mail
Where can the T-shirts be purchased - you know the one about buying NZ for change of a $20? Classic pommy humour and I love it. NZ is a great place to live but will be a better one if we can beat the hairdressers that call themselves the ABs.





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SEE ALSO
Pick your Lions XV
24 May 05 |  Lions in NZ
Lions tour venue guides
18 May 05 |  Lions in NZ
Early history of the Lions
18 May 05 |  Lions in NZ
Fixture list for Lions tour to NZ
08 Apr 05 |  Lions in NZ
Lions player profiles
25 May 05 |  Lions in NZ
All Blacks player profiles
25 May 05 |  Lions in NZ


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