Rogers backs Lions to roar past Kiwis - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Rogers backs Lions to roar past Kiwis

By Alex Lowe 06/12/2004 05:29:45 AM Comments (0)

Australian fullback Mat Rogers has backed the British and Irish Lions to emerge victorious from next year's titanic Test series in New Zealand.

Rogers is perfectly placed to judge the relative strengths of the two sides having played for Australia against England and Scotland last month before turning out for the Barbarians against the All Blacks at Twickenham on Saturday.

Although New Zealand heads home from an unbeaten European tour ranked number one in the world, Rogers believes the Lions, under the stewardship of Sir Clive Woodward, will be favourites to take the series.

"I'd probably put my money on the Lions at the moment. Northern hemisphere rugby has got a bit of a roll on at the minute," said Rogers.

"I've been impressed. I certainly think they can go on with it. I think they are very healthy. New Zealand are going to have to be on their guard when the Lions get over there.

"You have got a real healthy crop to pick from with Ireland beating South Africa, England beating South Africa and coming close to beating us (Australia).

"A lot of the teams had injured players who were not available so come tour time it will be interesting to see who they pick first of all and then how they gel."

Rogers, perhaps unsurprisingly, sees the Lions squad as being predominantly English in make-up, but he insisted the growing strength of Wales and Ireland will make them a formidable unit.

Australia played Scotland twice and were made to work for the victories, but Rogers feared the 2005 tour might be a little too soon for any of Matt Williams' up-and-coming stars to make a mark.

"Josh Lewsey has played very well, Jason Robinson, Mike Tindall. I think Charlie Hodgson in the South Africa game was outstanding and he just let himself down against the Wallabies but he is certainly a player with a lot of potential," reflected Rogers.

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