Warren Gatland Wants One Major Change To British & Irish Lions Tour
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Preparation is key.
Warren Gatland insists the British & Irish Lions must have more preparation time ahead of future tours. The Lions take on New Zealand this summer, with their first game on tour coming just one week after the PRO12 and Premiership finals.
Former Lions and All Blacks coach Graham Henry earlier this month branded this summer’s itinerary ‘suicidal’ and it appears Warren Gatland agrees with his fellow Kiwi.
“I said in my report that it comes down to three words: preparation, preparation, preparation,” said Gatland.
“There are a number of stakeholders involved and they have to understand the future of the Lions and that things should be done properly.
“Last time we had a week in Hong Kong and arrived in Australia with five days to spare, which feels a lifetime compared to arriving on the Wednesday with the first game that Saturday.
“Everyone wants more time but what would be reasonable would be to have a week together with the squad in the UK or Ireland before you travel and arrive seven days before your first game.”
Gatland says he hopes something can be done for future tours.
“And the ideal scenario would be not playing a match in the week of the first Test. I hope the Lions are able to negotiate with the stakeholders, the unions and the clubs. It might mean bringing Europe and the finals forward a week so we can have more warm-up time.
“It is a challenge to bring players from four countries together and gel them quickly, which is why you need both preparation time and five warm-up matches.”