Gatland sees Lions hope

Sun, 02 Dec 2012 09:19
Large warren gatland looks Large robbie deans face 630 Large warren gatland beer 630 Large robbie deans two fingers 63 Large gatland   edwards 630 Large robbie deans thumbs up 630 Large warren gatland lions presse

B&I Lions coach Warren Gatland will travel to Australia next year buoyed by high Anglo-Irish hopes.

British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland will travel to Australia next year buoyed by high Anglo-Irish hopes after watching his Wales side once again being edged by the Wallabies.

At the same time as Kurtley Beale crossed for the last-gasp try that condemned Wales to a seventh consecutive defeat, and the third pool of IRB seeds for the 2015 World Cup draw, England were putting world champions New Zealand to the sword.

The English team's stunning 38-21 victory over the All Blacks, teamed with Ireland's 46-22 thrashing of Argentina, were the stand-out results of the November international window, according to Gatland.

"There's no one pencilled in. There are some people we've been keeping an eye on," Gatland said after watching his team lose 14-12 at the Millennium Stadium.

"England winning [against the All Blacks] was a great result for them. We'll need a good look at the game.

"And I thought the Ireland performance against Argentina was excellent last week. A few players put their hands up from that."

But Gatland, a former Connacht, Wasps and Ireland coach, warned that there was a lot of rugby still to play before any selections were made for the 35-man squad for the four-yearly tour, the last of which was lost 2-1 in South Africa in 2009.

"The year-end is just an indication and then you see what happens in the next couple of months and the Six Nations becomes very important," he said.

The showcase tournament for Europe's leading six countries was crucial "not just for players performing but also from a confidence level, and players coming from teams that are doing well in key positions. That will have a bearing on selection".

Australia's Kiwi coach Robbie Deans was in no doubt that Gatland, a former club rugby adversary when playing in New Zealand, would be up for the Lions.

"He was part of the coaching group in 2009 when the Lions toured South Africa, so he has got some runs on the board," Deans said of Gatland, a former Waikato hooker who played 17 times for the All Blacks but never in a Test.

"He understands the importance and the history of the Lions - it is a role he will take very seriously and he will want to be successful.

"We will prepare and focus on what we need to do, to come together and perform as best we can, but I am sure you will see a really united group arriving on these shores - it's going to be a fantastic series."

Deans added: "The Lions series is going to be huge. These blokes will have some respite, a good break, but I'm sure that in the back of their minds it's looming."

Next year's British and Irish Lions tour to Australia is nothing but gruelling, the 35-strong squad expected to come together in a short space of time before playing six games and three Tests.

The tour actually kicks off in Hong Kong on June 1 against the Barbarians, before the Lions head to Australia, 2-1 victors over the last touring party from the home unions in 2001 but defeated 1-2 in 1989.

Gatland will take a back seat from his main Wales coaching job during the Six Nations in a bid to scout for potential players to fill the highly cosseted red Lions jersey.

Having already fired out warnings to his own squad of Welsh players about aptitude and fitness, Gatland seems sure to prove a hard taskmaster but likely to pick confident players who boss the game in winning teams.

Deans said that the fact Australia had now played Wales six times in a year would not affect the Lions tour.

"It's a totally different team and a totally different coaching team," he said. "They'll hatch fresh plans and throw everything at us, as we will them."

AFP

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 29 April 2016
Boland v Griquas 12h30 Wellington
Sale Sharks v Gloucester 18h45 AJ Bell Stadium
Treviso v Connacht 19h30 Stadio Monigo
Glasgow Warriors v Zebre 19h35 Scotstoun
Munster v Edinburgh 19h35 Irish Independent Park
Sat, 30 April 2016
Blues v Rebels 05h15 Auckland
Highlanders v Brumbies 07h35 Dunedin
Reds v Cheetahs 09h40 Brisbane
Border v Pumas 12h30 East London
Namibia v EP Kings 13h00 Windhoek
Leicester Tigers v Worcester Warriors 14h00 Welford Road
Western Province v Golden Lions 14h15 Newlands
Northampton Saints v Bath 14h15 Franklin's Gardens
Cardiff Blues v Ospreys 14h30 Millennium Stadium
Ulster v Leinster 15h00 Kingspan Stadium
Lions v Hurricanes 15h05 Johannesburg
Dragons v Scarlets 17h00 Millennium Stadium
Stormers v Waratahs 17h10 Cape Town
Jaguares v Kings 21h40 Buenos Aires
Sun, 01 May 2016
Exeter Chiefs v Wasps 12h00 Sandy Park
London Irish v Harlequins 14h00 Madejski Stadium
Saracens v Newcastle Falcons 14h15 Allianz Park
Fri, 06 May 2016
Crusaders v Reds 07h35 Christchurch
Brumbies v Bulls 09h40 Canberra
Griffons v Eagles 15h00 Welkom
B&I LIONS
MORE LOGS