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Dublin: 9 °C Thursday 25 April, 2019

Gatland's son puts family first for Lions tour

Bryn Gatland only wants the Lions to lose one game on Tour, the one he’s playing against them.

Bryn Gatland playing for North Harbour
Bryn Gatland playing for North Harbour
Image: Photosport/Joe Allison/INPHO

WARREN GATLAND’S SON Bryn said Friday that he hopes his father’s British and Irish Lions sweep all before them in New Zealand — except when he’s on the opposing side.

Gatland junior, a promising fly-half, has been picked in the Provincial Barbarians to face the Lions in the tour opener in Whangarei on Saturday.

The 22-year-old is also a possible starter for the Auckland Blues when they take on the tourists at Eden Park next week.

Bryn said he would be doing his utmost to defeat the Lions, but there was no question of divided loyalties for the rest of the blockbuster tour.

“Obviously growing up I’ve always been an All Blacks supporter but I’m also a believer in family comes first,” he told NewstalkZB.

“So when it comes down to Dad versus the All Blacks, it’s not about me wanting the All Blacks to lose, it’s about me wanting Dad to be successful.

“I’ll be really proud if he can achieve that goal of beating the All Blacks.”

He said the Barbarians, widely regarded as the weakest team the Lions will face on their 10-match tour, would not be intimidated by their star-studded opponents.

“No one’s really backing us, which is fine, but it’s a chance for us to play against the best in the world and put our best foot forward,” he said.

“We’ve had the green light from the coaches to go out and give it a crack and if you make a mistake or it goes wrong they’re not going to bark at us.”

He said he had never played against a team coached by his father, and that they had enjoyed some verbal jousting over the Barbarians fixture.

“It’s a bit of an extra bonus, we’ve had a bit of banter about it,” he said. “It’s all pretty light-hearted stuff.”

Meanwhile, his father has welcomed the fact that the most of the Lions’ tour opponents will perform the haka, saying it will make his players familiar with the fearsome Maori challenge before they face the All Blacks.

“The more times you face up to it, you don’t mind it, it’s a motivational thing, it’s not intimidating,” he told reporters.

“I’m pleased my players will face it more than once. You become familiar with it. It becomes part of regular preparation for a game.”

He also said the Lions had not planned any response to the war dance.

(C) AFP 2017

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