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Vickery talks up Welsh Lions

Phil Vickery would welcome a British and Irish Lions Test XV dominated by Welshmen if it was best equipped to defeat Australia.

Warren Gatland's squad have been dubbed the 'Welsh and Irish Lions' by the Australian media and it is conceivable that the team picked for the opening Test on June 22 may not contain a single England player. Many of the 15-strong contingent from Wales have started the tour strongly and Vickery is not surprised by the impact they have made.

"I get a lot of stick for my views on the Welsh presence in the Lions, but while I'm a proud Englishman, I'm also proud of northern hemisphere rugby," he said. "The reality is that there's a large number of Welsh in the squad and that's because they're good! That's fact. They've played well and have consistently shown what they can do."

He continued: "I'd have no issues with a Test team based heavily on Wales if it was the best side.

"The Welsh lads are such good boys, they know they have to mix and there are no better boys than the Welsh lads to do that.

"The worst thing you can have on a tour are players who you think 'why are you here because you're not good enough'.

"There isn't one Welsh guy on the tour who isn't good enough. The most important thing is to justify your selection."

Vickery dismisses the view that the Lions might posses an inferiority complex against Australia due to Wales' poor record against the Wallabies.

Eight successive defeats dating back to 2009 - albeit in some very close matches - have frustrated the RBS 6 Nations champions time and again in the fixture.

"As a player who consistently lost to teams likes Australia and New Zealand in the early days, losing makes you want to fight and win that little bit more the next time," said the former England prop, who earlier this week helped out RugbyForce, an initiative that supports grassroots rugby clubs. "If anything Wales' losing streak against Australia will be a bonus."


From Belfast Telegraph