The British and Irish Lions got together on Monday for the first time following the squad announcement three weeks ago and for first time Lion and Wales hooker Ken Owens, the magnitude of the tour has finally hit home.
Following a brilliant Six Nations campaign, the 30-year-old earned his first Lions call-up and is in the mix for the starting spot at No. 2 ahead of Rory Best and Jamie George.
While this is enough to focus anyone’s attention on the imminent task at hand, it appears that the free kit each Lion receives has solidified the magnitude of the summer tour for the Welshman.
Reported by Wales Online, Owens was blown away by the volume of free swag.
“Meeting up with the boys, getting the kit and putting it on makes you realise this is not just a dream anymore, it’s becoming a reality.
“It’s sinking in that we are three or four weeks away from a huge tour in New Zealand.”
Turning to the new Lions attire, Owens was clearly delighted.
“We have two very big kit bags, nine sets of training kit for rugby, 15 gym tee-shirts and vests and all sorts.
“We have two suits , plenty of shirts and even a pair of shoes . It’s actually more than I have got in my house!
“I have my clothes sorted for the next 10 years I think!”
All jokes aside, the tour of New Zealand is going to be as difficult as they come, with five warm up fixtures against top Super Rugby sides as well as clashes with the New Zealand Maori and the Provincial Barbarians. All this before the three Tests against the double-defending world champions.
Game one of the tour against the Provincial Barbarians kicks off on June 3, with the first Test against the All Blacks taking place on June 24.
Gary Brennan, Pundit Arena