15 Sep 2016

Jones says Lions can beat All Blacks

9:16 am on 15 September 2016

The British and Irish Lions have a "great chance" of beating a New Zealand side with "definite weaknesses", says England head coach Eddie Jones.

Eddie Jones

Eddie Jones Photo: Photosport

Warren Gatland's side tour New Zealand next year, and are underdogs to win the series against the world champions.

But Jones feels the Lions are capable of toppling the All Blacks for the first time since 1971.

"There are definite weaknesses in the New Zealand side," Jones told BBC Sport.

"The Lions have to attack those weaknesses and then play to their strengths."

Steve Hansen's All Blacks have not lost a Test at home since 2009, a run of 43 games, but Jones added: "The Lions have a great chance.

"Of course it is going to be tough, but out of the four teams [England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland], they can put out a great squad of 35, 36 players more than capable of taking the Kiwis on."

Jones was backed to coach the Lions himself after guiding England to a Grand Slam and a series whitewash of Australia, but was unavailable because of his commitment to the Rugby Football Union.

However, he feels the Lions have the right man in Gatland, who led the Lions to victory in Australia in 2013.

Gatland, confirmed as Lions coach last Wednesday, will lead the team until the end of the tour next July, having taken a sabbatical from his job as Wales head coach.

"It's a great appointment," Jones said. "Warren has done it before, and he has a great appreciation of European rugby.

"He knows the players in England, Scotland and Ireland - obviously he knows the Welsh players - so he will do a great job."

Jones' focus is now on the first match of England's autumn series, against South Africa at Twickenham, with the squad named at the end of this month.