Stuart Barnes reckons Ireland's Grand Slam-wrecking win over England in Dublin last weekend could provide a boost to Warren Gatland and his Lions squad.
Speaking on Sky Sports following Connacht's defeat to Glasgow, Barnes - himself a former Lions tourist - theorised that Gatland would have been hoping that England might dominate the tournament with a sequence of barn-burning displays, but that Ireland's derailing of the chariot was the next best outcome ahead of the summer tour.
Irish players, Barnes maintains, remain the only contingent who won't fear an All Blacks outfit who remain arguably the greatest side to have ever played the game, and whose last defeat to a Northern Hemisphere country - Chicago aside - arrived in 2012 when they were beaten 38-21 by England at Twickenham.
Barnes told Sky Sports:
I think Warren Gatland wanted England to be the team who went out and did it. What I would say is, last week, I reckon the Ireland win is good news for the Lions.
At the moment, I look at the Lions team, and Gatland wanted men who aren't afraid of New Zealand, who can beat them. And right now, Ireland have the contingent of players who deep down believe [they can beat New Zealand]. People like Sexton, who look at New Zealand and think, 'We can beat them'.
So in a weird sort of way, as an Englishman obviously it was disappointing to be in Dublin and see them lose, but as someone who's following the Lions, I think it could turn out to be quite good news.