bright idea
Gatland wants the Lions to face the All Blacks before South Africa tour
The former Wales boss will be head coach on a third Lions tour next year.

BRITISH AND IRISH Lions coach Warren Gatland has proposed a series “decider” between the All Blacks and his composite team before next year’s tour of South Africa.

Gatland oversaw the Lions’ 2017 tour to New Zealand, when a 15-15 deadlock at Eden Park meant the three-Test series ended in a draw.

kieran-read-and-sam-warburton-lift-the-dhl-nz-cup-after-the-series-finished-a-draw Photosport / Andrew Cornaga/INPHO The Lions and All Blacks shared the trophy in 2017. Photosport / Andrew Cornaga/INPHO / Andrew Cornaga/INPHO

Players from both sides expressed disappointment at the time that no one had won the series and Gatland said a one-off Test next year could decide the issue once and for all.

He said rugby chiefs needed to think creatively to generate much-needed revenue when the game eventually restarts and the fixture would be hugely appealing to fans.

The Lions tour South Africa next year and Gatland said he was already in discussions with New Zealand Rugby about the Maori All Blacks playing a warm-up game against them before they depart.

But he suggested the full All Blacks team should be involved in the fixture instead.

“Is it something the All Blacks could do, go up there and we could do a bit of a decider before we go off to South Africa at the end of June next year?” he told New Zealand’s Sky Sports late Wednesday.

“Potentially it’s a chance to make 4 to 5 million pounds (€4.5 to 5.6 million) to put some money back into the coffers that we’re going to need.”

Gatland also floated the idea of Southern Hemisphere nations travelling to the north in November this year for a round-robin tournament in which revenues would be shared.

The former Wales coach is currently in charge of the Chiefs in New Zealand but will take over as Lions boss again for next year’s South Africa tour.

warren-gatland Dan Sheridan / INPHO Gatland will be Lions boss for the third time next year. Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

After coaching mainly in the Northern Hemisphere, Gatland said he had been impressed with the skills of the players in the Hamilton-based Super Rugby team.

He said top-level northern players tended to be older and more mature than their southern counterparts, with a strong technical game.

“They haven’t got the same ability or natural instinct in terms of catching or passing, but technically they’re very good and they have to be,” he said.

Gatland also revealed his annoyance at the “Warrenball” description used to describe his tactics.

“When you’re coaching a side you play to the strengths you’ve got,” Gatland said.

Asked for his preferred description of his game plan, Gatland suggested “winningball”.

© – AFP 2020

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