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New rugby union season makes Lions an ‘impossible challenge’, warns Spencer

• 2017 Lions manager says new calendar ‘damages ethos’ of tour
• RFU looking to Premiership for future England head coach

John Spencer, manager of the British & Irish Lions in New Zealand last year, said he was “very concerned” about the future of one of the game’s most iconic brands after changes to the domestic rugby calendar, as future tours will be trimmed to eight games with no training week for the full squad before they fly out.

Spencer said: “Who is going to want to take on the task of coaching the Lions on what is going to be a virtually impossible challenge? Are players at the end of a long season going to be prepared to risk reputational damage given the lack of time to prepare?”

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