Page 3 Profile: Warren Gatland, British and Irish Lions rugby coach

 

Lions coach Warren Gatland
Lions coach Warren Gatland

Who has he picked?

Gatland, the New Zealander at the helm of the Wales rugby union squad that triumphed in the past two Six Nations tournaments, has assembled his squad for the British and Irish Lions tour of Australia this summer. The 24-year-old Welshman Sam Warburton has been named captain of the 37-man party, and Gatland lauded him as the “the most successful captain in the northern hemisphere” over the past few years. “He’s an absolute professional who leads from the front and I believe he’ll do a fantastic job,” he said.

Who lost out?

Irish hooker Rory Best lost out to surprise inclusion Dylan Hartley, and England skipper Chris Robshaw failed to make the team. Jonny Wilkinson is another big name who won’t be making the trip Down Under. The 2003 World Cup hero told Gatland he was committed to his club Toulon and admitted his fitness levels might not be up to scratch. “He appreciated the call, but he said he’s struggling with his body and managing himself week to week. I think physically he would struggle to do a tour,” the coach said. In all, 15 Welsh players made the squad – the biggest Welsh contingent in more than 30 years. Accompanying them are ten players from England, nine from Ireland and three from Scotland.

A bit biased, no?

The Australian media was quick to dub the Lions squad as a “slab of red meat”, saying Gatland’s team would likely adopt the tried-and-tested Welsh tactic of physically overpowering the opposition. The Australian newspaper warned rugby fans that “British and Irish Lions’ candy floss rugby will be hard-coated”. There had been some controversy earlier this year when he spoke of the “circus that was created” around England in the 2011 World Cup, suggesting he might limit his selections from the England squad.

Will there be a “circus” this time around?

For people who don’t really like rugby, 2011 was brilliant. In a sensational off-field performance from the England squad, Mike Tindall was photographed on a wild night out, Manu Tuilagi was fined for wearing a sponsored mouthguard and three players were reprimanded for making lewd comments to a hotel worker. Sadly, their talents on the pitch left a lot to be desired. In a bid to keep people’s attention on the game itself, the Lions have been ordered to follow strict social media protocol.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in