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Thread: British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland doesn't want party boy Poms in his squad

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    British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland doesn't want party boy Poms in his squad

    THERE could be serious division within the British and Irish Lions camp after Warren Gatland's claims that picking too many English players could create a party central atmosphere on tour.

    Whether Gatland was serious or not, the ensuing fallout has opened the coach up to claims of bias.

    Gatland noted that England players were more interested in dwarf-throwing and chasing everything off the field as opposed to what they should have been chasing on it during their notorious 2011 World Cup campaign. But now he faces picking a stack of them for the Lions tour after their outstanding Six Nations form.

    In case you missed it, Gatland said: "We all know what happened with England at the World Cup and the circus that was created. There are other pressures that come with selecting a lot of English players 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."

    Former England players have already attacked Gatland over the comments.

    Ultimately, the challenge for Gatland is getting four countries who have fiercely hated each other on the same page. That won't be easy because some believe he has already prejudiced the squad.

    This is the same Gatland who as Wales coach since 2007 has been focusing on and exploiting the weaknesses of players from England, Ireland and Scotland.

    His job now is to view these players' strengths.

    And within the travelling squad of 50 people, there will be vast agendas and individual conflicts. I saw this first-hand as part of the 2001 Lions series when Austin Healy and Matt Dawson were writing newspaper columns bagging their own management and undermining the squad's aims.

    I have no doubt Gatland is worried about similar tensions arising within his group courtesy of England players.

    Alternately, if certain players feel as though they are not being treated as equals and suspect they are outside the team's inner circle, ill-feeling can fester and destabilise the entire campaign

    It is an incredibly difficult ask for four separate groups to come together and within weeks play as one and develop combination. It is probably why the Lions haven't won a series for 16 years.

    There is much talk about the difficulties facing the Wallabies against the might of the four nations, but Australia had their year of division in 2012 and have come out of it a tighter unit.

    Quade Cooper aired his grievances in a manner he thought honest and appropriate, but he discovered that it was not appreciated by key Wallabies players.

    The Wallabies went away on the end-of-year tour and won crucial, close-run games against England, Italy and Wales.

    They have moved on from the adversity, but the Lions won't know how united they are until the most important moments of the series.

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    Lets hope we can exploit any division in the Lions squad. It may be what gets us over the line in the series.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeterM View Post
    THERE could be serious division within the British and Irish Lions camp after Warren Gatland's claims that picking too many English players could create a party central atmosphere on tour.

    Whether Gatland was serious or not, the ensuing fallout has opened the coach up to claims of bias.

    Gatland noted that England players were more interested in dwarf-throwing and chasing everything off the field as opposed to what they should have been chasing on it during their notorious 2011 World Cup campaign. But now he faces picking a stack of them for the Lions tour after their outstanding Six Nations form.

    In case you missed it, Gatland said: "We all know what happened with England at the World Cup and the circus that was created. There are other pressures that come with selecting a lot of English players 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."

    Former England players have already attacked Gatland over the comments.

    Ultimately, the challenge for Gatland is getting four countries who have fiercely hated each other on the same page. That won't be easy because some believe he has already prejudiced the squad.

    This is the same Gatland who as Wales coach since 2007 has been focusing on and exploiting the weaknesses of players from England, Ireland and Scotland.

    His job now is to view these players' strengths.

    And within the travelling squad of 50 people, there will be vast agendas and individual conflicts. I saw this first-hand as part of the 2001 Lions series when Austin Healy and Matt Dawson were writing newspaper columns bagging their own management and undermining the squad's aims.

    I have no doubt Gatland is worried about similar tensions arising within his group courtesy of England players.

    Alternately, if certain players feel as though they are not being treated as equals and suspect they are outside the team's inner circle, ill-feeling can fester and destabilise the entire campaign

    It is an incredibly difficult ask for four separate groups to come together and within weeks play as one and develop combination. It is probably why the Lions haven't won a series for 16 years.

    There is much talk about the difficulties facing the Wallabies against the might of the four nations, but Australia had their year of division in 2012 and have come out of it a tighter unit.

    Quade Cooper aired his grievances in a manner he thought honest and appropriate, but he discovered that it was not appreciated by key Wallabies players.

    The Wallabies went away on the end-of-year tour and won crucial, close-run games against England, Italy and Wales.

    They have moved on from the adversity, but the Lions won't know how united they are until the most important moments of the series.
    Why is Gatland coach ? He seems to have no idea what is required to create a successful lions squad. The coach should be from the 4 home unions not nz. I think he should be replaced or told to shut his big mouth.
    Posted via Mobile Device

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