New Zealand gives Lions traditional Maori welcome

Jonathan Hernandez
June 1, 2017

Inside the terminal, the touring party received a traditional powhiri, or welcoming ceremony, with a challenge, waiata (songs) and with hongi, the traditional form of Maori greeting in which noses are pressed together.

Warburton, his 40 Lions teammates and the side's coaching and support staff touched down in New Zealand on Wednesday ahead of their first match on Saturday against the Provincial Barbarians in Whangarei.

He is expected to head into the All Blacks' first Test against the Lions on June 24 without any game time under his belt, bar perhaps a hit-out against Samoa.

He was the Welsh captain as long ago as 2011 for the World Cup in New Zealand, and returned here last summer as the Welsh captain for the their three-test tour, while in between times captained the Lions four years ago in Australia.

"These games are important to win, you get a good feeling, but we've got to realise that the next three, four weeks are big learning weeks for us".

World Player of the Year for 2016, Barrett has made the No.10 jersey his own following the worldwide retirement of Dan Carter and in the time since the 2015 Rugby World Cup, he has gone on to become one of the most devastatingly risky players in world rugby.

"You just want to get the Lions jersey in the kitbag".

"The Lions have to be absolutely clear".

British & Irish Lions captain Sam Warburton says his team will not be preoccupied by style during their time in New Zealand. "It's nice to get that first game under your belt".

Tattooed Maori warriors performed a haka to greet the composite team of elite players from England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland, marking the start of the almost six-week tour.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with ROTL, it's a cycle tour that runs in conjunction with the Lions Rugby Tour.

The British & Irish Lions are prepared to sacrifice early games to win the ones that matter.

"And then from my point of view it's basically just homework, homework, homework, catch up on what I've missed, make sure I understand what my role is within the squad and then basically just work as hard as I can".

"We are lucky to have some real leaders in the squad and to be able to select them for this match in the likes of Rory Best, Alun Wyn Jones and Greig Laidlaw", said Gatland.

"It's all about winning the Test series".

New Zealand underlined their recent dominance with a world-record equalling 18-Test winning streak in 2015-2016, and coach Steve Hansen said this week there was still "plenty of room" for improvement.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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