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Sexton will be a target in NZ - Best

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    18 Apr 2017     Getty Images

Best, who was assistant coach when the Lions beat the All Blacks 20-7 in Wellington in 1993, and who coached England to a 15-9 win over the All Blacks later that year, told The Rugby Paper that Sexton was too injury-prone to survive the tough New Zealand itinerary.

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"The New Zealanders know Sexton is important to the Lions, and so I wouldn't be surprised if they targeted him. They've got a history where that's concerned, but it has always happened in rugby – and I don't have a problem if it is within the laws," he said.

"He won't last the tour – and that's if he doesn't get hurt before the tour starts. Sexton is a brave boy who will not pull out of tackles," Best said.

The tour was 'ludicrous' in its intensity involving 10 games in five weeks back-to-back against the best teams from the best rugby country in the world.

The Lions should expect the heaviest injury toll yet, he warned.

Head coach Warren Gatland would need 45 players, instead of the 37 who toured Australia in 2013.

"Don't worry about the tour party being too big," he said.

"Take 45 players if necessary, because what you don't want to be doing is spending all your time in airports…nor do you want players coming in cold, who are not familiar with the calls or the structures.

"You basically have to pick three complete teams, because it could well be the third line-up which will find themselves playing for their lives in the third Test in Auckland," Best said.