British and Irish Lions tour: We must be better than 2013, says Alun Wyn Jones

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British and Irish Lions 2017
Date: 3 June - 8 July Venue: New Zealand
Coverage: Live text commentary on every match on the BBC Sport website and mobile app.

Alun Wyn Jones says the British and Irish Lions will need to be better than the side that beat Australia in 2013 if they are to succeed in New Zealand.

The Wales lock played in the 2009 series defeat by South Africa and 2-1 win over the Wallabies four years ago.

He was asked if the 2017 party is stronger than 2013, when he led the Lions in the decisive third Test because Sam Warburton was injured.

"I think I'd have to say yes, it has to be," said Jones.

"You look at what we're up against - two times world champions in the Tests and a host of quality Super Rugby franchises on the way so it's going to have to be."

In the face of rugby's ultimate test, Jones believes the Lions party have a responsibility beyond the current tour.

Before the last tour questions were raised about the place of the Lions in the professional game after successive series defeats by Australia, New Zealand and South Africa between 2001 and 2009.

"I came into the tour of 2013 and people were talking about dropping the Lions altogether because we hadn't won it for so long," said Jones, who is making his third Lions tour.

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"It's funny, at the fact we win one and people want to preserve it for as long as possible.

"So I think there's more of a responsibility to the Lions jersey than the tour itself.

"I think it's something that needs to be preserved.

"It's what makes rugby special and I'm sure there's a few southern hemisphere teams that would want it to maintain as well."

The Lions were last in New Zealand in 2005, when the team coached by Sir Clive Woodward suffered a 3-0 thrashing by a team inspired by fly-half Dan Carter.

Jones says the build-up to the 2017 trip began before he and his team-mates left Australia in 2013.

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"I think the hype for this started after we played that final Test in Australia so I think it's been a long four years for Lions supporters and 12 years for Kiwi supporters," he added.

2017 Lions tour schedule

June 3 - Provincial Union Team, Whangarei
June 7 - Blues, Auckland
June 10 - Crusaders, Christchurch
June 13 - Highlanders, Dunedin
June 17 - Maori All Blacks, Rotorua
June 20 - Chiefs, Hamilton
June 24 - All Blacks, Auckland
June 27 - Hurricanes, Wellington
July 1 - All Blacks, Wellington
July 8 - All Blacks, Auckland

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