Fitzpatrick hails Lions
All Blacks great insists tourists still have a future in the game
Last Updated: 26/07/09 2:09pm
Fitzpatrick: Support for the Lions
Former New Zealand skipper Sean Fitzpatrick has joined the calls for the British and Irish Lions to continue.
The viability of the Lions in the professional era has been called into question following the 2-1 series defeat to South Africa.
The tourists won the final Test 28-9 to end a seven-match losing run, but despite having now lost successive series to the South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, Fitzpatrick insists the Lions brand is still going strong.
Fitzpatrick, who won three of his 92 caps when he led the All Blacks beat the Lions 2-1 in 1993, said: "The Lions are probably the most powerful brand in world rugby. Without question they have a future.
"Winning that third Test against South Africa was paramount but even had they lost they'd still be a viable brand.
"You ask anyone who has played against the Lions and they'll tell you they're one of the greatest teams to play against.
"They play sides that are together year-in year-out while they come together every four years, so maybe they need to look at their preparation going into a tour.
"I'd have thought six games before the first Test would be enough. They say they need more, so give them more matches to make them more competitive.
"But look at that series just gone - they should have won it and could have won it 3-0.
"Even if you just look at them in terms of being a money-making brand, they're phenomenal."