As the countdown clock before the 2009 British & Irish Lions ticked through the 100 days barrier (Thursday, 19 February), tour manager Gerald Davies and members of the Lions coaching team gave their views on the challenges ahead.
Davies talked of "the new peak" his players will have to reach on this summer's tour to South Africa.
"There is a sense of longing among the players in the four nations - a longing to represent the Lions. They are very immensely proud to be representing their own individual countries, but by going on a Lions tour you arrive at another peak - another challenge faces you," said Davies, a Lion in South Africa in 1968 and New Zealand in 1971.
"Each player knows at the back of their minds that there is another accolade and another honour awaiting them. You may be the best player in your own country, but when the Four Nations come together you have to prove yourself in a squad environment to be better than the others to get into the Test team.
"We will be playing every game as if we are playing the Springboks. It is a series from first of our 10 matches to the last.
"This is Lions year - you can't turn a corner without somebody talking about the tour. The whole population of South Africa are looking forward to the Lions coming.
"From all the things that have been said, the expectation in South Africa is high. They are aware that in 1974 and 1997 the Lions went there and won the series.
"Now they want to get their own back. My intention is for the players and management to have an enjoyable, combative and memorable period in South Africa this summer.
"The Lions has this romantic image about it - a caravan, a carnival of players going from one country to the next over a 12 year period. But to me the Lions are a good combative team that loves a challenge and competition - and represents what is best in rugby football."
The Lions kick-off their 10 match tour of South Africa against a High Veld XV at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace in Rustenburg at 3.00pm local time (2.00pm BST) on Saturday, 30 May.
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