Gatland wary of English bad boys

Wed, 13 Feb 2013 07:49
Large warren gatland beer 630 Large warren gatland bar Large gatland farrell rowntree ho

British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland has admitted that he is wary of picking too many English players for the tour of Australia.

British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland has admitted that he is wary of picking too many English players for the tour of Australia despite their Six Nations form.

The 49-year-old New Zealander - who guided Wales to the Six Nations Grand Slam last year but has taken a leave of absence to coach the Lions - said the bad behaviour of some of the England players at the 2011 World Cup could be a bad omen.

That is despite a radical overhaul of the players since then by no-nonsense coach Stuart Lancaster, who replaced Martin Johnson after the World Cup debacle, and who has also been strict with players who have strayed since then.

"We all know what happened with England at the World Cup and the circus that was created," said Gatland.

"There are other pressures that come with selecting a lot of English players," he added.

The Kiwi mentor admitted that given their current form it will be tough to leave too many England players out, but explained that he would like to minimise the role of the media on the Lions tour.

"At the moment England are playing well. They did well in the autumn, particularly the outstanding victory against the All Blacks.

"And, if they do well in the Six Nations, there will be a reasonable contingent of English players.

"But it becomes a much greater media focus from the English papers and potentially a negative focus from the Australian papers. And English players are targeted by other countries.

"They are not always the most popular with other countries because of the history. People like having a pop at them," he said.

Gatland's comments were greeted with disbelief by several former England internationals including former skipper Bill Beaumont.

"I was lucky enough to be captain in 1980, Martin Johnson skippered the team to the famous 1997 series win, as well as leading the side for a historic second time, when going down to Australia," said Beaumont, who was capped 34 times by England from 1975-1982 and earned seven caps for the Lions.

"Wearing the Lions shirt, whether captain or player, is something that all English players take very seriously.

"This will undoubtedly continue for those that get picked this time.

"It is well documented the strong culture and sense of responsibility on and off the pitch that this England team possesses.

"Those fortunate enough to get picked will of course take those attributes Down Under."

AFP

Crusaders vs Force
sast: 08h35 | local: 19h35

  • 33 | 17
LIVE
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 24 March 2017
Rebels v Waratahs 08h45 Melbourne
Glasgow Warriors v Connacht 17h15 Scotstoun Stadium
Scarlets v Edinburgh 19h05 Parc y Scarlets
Dragons v Ulster 19h35 Rodney Parade
Treviso v Ospreys 19h35 Stadio Monigo
Sat, 25 March 2017
Blues v Bulls 06h35 Eden Park
Brumbies v Highlanders 08h45 Canberra
Sunwolves v Stormers 10h55 Singapore
Kings v Lions 13h05 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Zebre v Munster 14h00 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Harlequins v Newcastle Falcons 15h00 Twickenham Stoop
Exeter Chiefs v Sale Sharks 15h00 Sandy Park
Saracens v Bath 15h00 Allianz Park
Northampton Saints v Leicester Tigers 15h00 Franklin's Gardens
Leinster v Cardiff Blues 15h00 RDS Arena
Cheetahs v Blues 15h15 Bloemfontein
Treviso v Ospreys 19h35 Stadio Monigo
Jaguares v Reds 21h40 Buenos Aires
Sun, 26 March 2017
Wasps v Worcester Warriors 14h30 Ricoh Arena
Bristol v Gloucester 15h00 Ashton Gate
Mon, 27 March 2017
NWU-Pukke v UP-Tuks 14h45 Potchefstroom
Fort Hare v UKZN-Impi 16h30 Davidson Stadium
Wits v UCT-Ikeys 16h30 Johannesburg
NMMU-Madibaz v CUT-Ixias 16h30 Bloemfontein
UWC v WSU 16h30 Cape Town
Maties v UJ 17h00 Stellenbosch
B&I LIONS
MORE LOGS
RELATED ARTICLES