There is no other country in the world where there is such intense focus and attention on a nation’s rugby team than New Zealand.
It’s not difficult to see why. The game is by far the most popular in the country and it also helps that they are incredibly successful at it.
We have already seen a few scandals in New Zealand rugby over the last few months and the fallout of which from the Kiwi media gives an indication of the level of attention the sport receives in the southern hemisphere nation.
The Lions Tour is a big deal to New Zealand. It only comes around every twelve years for them and it offers a great opportunity for everyone involved in the game there to promote the sport in all aspects – especially from a commercial point of view.
From a purely sporting perspective – it offers the chance for rugby supporters there to further regard their team as the best in the world by beating the best players from Ireland, England, Wales and Scotland.
The media attention will be heavy, unrelenting and often unforgiving for the Lions players and they will need to expect and plan for this.
According to The Telegraph, the Lions players have already received a ‘social media pack’ which outlines rules, regulations, and guidelines surrounding their use of social media during the tour.
According to the report, there won’t be any instances of abstention from social media but players will be guided and advised to the type of information they can post and what they cannot.
Many Test nations and professional clubs employ a 36 hour ‘blackout’ from social media in the time before and after a match but it is being reported that this will not be the case for the Lions – unless captain Sam Warburton deems it necessary or in extreme circumstances.
In the four years which have elapsed since the last Lions Tour in Australia, the use and popularity of social media has only grown to new heights so the players will need to be incredibly aware of this as the potential will be there for a tweet, Instagram post or Facebook post to be interpreted incorrectly and an ensuing fallout can take place.