Brian O'Driscoll against shortening British and Irish Lions tours

Brian O'Driscoll insists Lions tours must not be further condensed
Brian O'Driscoll insists Lions tours must not be further condensed

Former Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll has voiced his opinion against a reduction in the number of weeks of British and Irish Lions tours.

The Lions are scheduled to tour New Zealand to play 10 games which includes three Tests against All Blacks and contests against Barbarians, Blues, Crusaders, Highlanders, Chiefs, Hurricanes and Maori All Blacks between 3rd June and 8th July.

However, the 10 games could be reduced to eight or even five following the introduction of the much awaited global calendar in 2020.

O'Driscoll, who has been a part of four Lions tour in 2001, 2005, 2009, 2013 has warned that any reduction in number of weeks in the Lions tours will hamper its success.

"They're not viable if you start condensing them," said O'Driscoll, who was speaking on behalf of Land Rover, a principal partner of the British and Irish Lions.

"You can't condense them any further than has already been done if you want to pull together as a team for a scenario that shouldn't work but has worked in the past.

"In my experience from the four tours I've been on it works because people are able to buy into it, but you need a little bit of time to bed in.

"As it stands there are only four weeks before the first Test and you have to give the opportunity to get combinations working together so that players can develop that element of telepathy.

"If you're reducing that to five weeks, a couple of weeks leading into the first Test, it will be more difficult to take on one of the superpowers.

"Something will have to give, of course, and player welfare is vitally important, but some of the traditions of the game need to be upheld.

"The Lions is one of the really important and special traditions from a player perspective having been on a few tours myself."

Like former Wales international Shane Williams, O'Driscoll has also backed for England's rising star Eliott Daly's inclusion in the Lions squad following his match-winning try in the final five minutes against Rob Howley's men last weekend.

"Elliot can make it the way he is going. Sometimes in Test match rugby being a utility back can work against you - on Lions tours it can work for you.

"If you can play multiple positions it can definitely be an advantage on those 50-50 calls.

"The coach will go with someone who can offer a little bit more, midweek as well as for the Test matches. It breaks the mould of working against you when it comes to the Lions."