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Keith Wood: British and Irish Lions can prevail against New Zealand in 2017

Published 05/11/2015

Former Ireland captain Keith Wood insists the Lions can prevail in New Zealand
Former Ireland captain Keith Wood insists the Lions can prevail in New Zealand

Former British and Irish Lions hooker Keith Wood insists the tourists can topple double world champions New Zealand in 2017.

The All Blacks became the first nation to defend the World Cup when they toppled Australia in last Saturday's final and their head coach Steve Hansen has already turned his attention towards the Lions' visit

Wood, a tourist with the elite of British and Irish rugby in 1997 and 2001, refuses to write off the prospects of the home unions in two years' time.

"New Zealand were phenomenal during the World Cup, there was an element of joy about their play and they seemed liberated at having won four years ago," Wood said.

"But by 2017 there will be a change in the All Blacks' personnel and also to some of the attitudes in the northern hemisphere.

"What came out of this World Cup was the need to play different styles according to what's required in a game and the Lions will have to use an element of that to get what is the most precious of prizes: a series win in New Zealand.

"The All Blacks are the world's best and have been so consistently for a long, long time, yet they are beaten at times."

Wales' Warren Gatland coached the Lions to victory over Australia in 2013 and is favourite to retain the post, but he faces competition from Ireland boss and fellow Kiwi Joe Schmidt.

"It's too early to say who will get the job, there's a lot of rugby to be played yet. We'll be able to tell a lot from the next Six Nations. Warren is in the box seat and Joe will be there or thereabouts," Wood said.

The Lions have announced Canterbury will replace adidas as official apparel partner for the tour to New Zealand.

::Keith Wood was speaking on behalf of Canterbury, Official Apparel Partner of the British & Irish Lions who have marked the announcement with a commemorative re-issue of the 1959 shirt.

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