Updated: 24/06/2013 22:44 | By pa.press.net

Gatland keeping feet on the ground



Warren Gatland maintains the British and Irish Lions will keep focus in Australia

Warren Gatland maintains the British and Irish Lions will keep focus in Australia

British and Irish Lions boss Warren Gatland has ruled out any notion of complacency creeping into the camp as his players edge towards possible Test series glory against Australia.

The Lions are one win away from securing a first Test series triumph since defeating South Africa 2-1 in 1997 following their gripping 23-21 victory over the Wallabies. Expectation is at an optimum level among the thousands of travelling supporters, and Gatland's biggest challenge this week could be keeping a lid on things.

"I don't think there's going to be any amount of complacency at all. I think these players are well aware they've got an opportunity to create their own history," he said. "Obviously, what happened in New Zealand in 2005 (the Lions suffered a 3-0 Test series defeat), part of the whole remit of 2009 (South Africa) for the coaches was to put some respect back into that red jersey."

"But this series isn't about respect, it's about delivering. For the Lions to continue as an entity we need to be successful, and I think world rugby wants the Lions to be successful as well.

"When you see the crowd and the atmosphere, it's something special, something nothing else can create apart from a World Cup. We need to keep that fantasy or history alive. It's difficult for the players to leave the hotel without being stopped on the street by everyone. A few of them have got a few disguises to try and sneak out for a coffee.

"But that's the beauty of it. People have paid a lot of money to be here and saved up for a long time to experience it. You've got to give them a piece of it, and the players are part of that."

And Gatland also underlined the need for continued assessment of necessary preparation time when plans are drawn up for New Zealand 2017.

'We've got to make sure that, if we do win the series, after this tour you've got to think about what happens in four years' time because the preparation is vital," he added. "Not just the preparation back in the UK for the Lions. In four years, New Zealand might have to push their season back a little bit to allow the Lions to prepare properly.

"We feel we've been hampered by a few of those issues on this tour, so we need to make sure going forward that everything is done right and is in place to give the Lions the best possible chance of success.

"The problem with Test match rugby is that there is nothing in between. It is either agony or ecstasy. There was someone up there potentially looking down on us (yesterday). I was going to leave with three minutes to go because I couldn't watch those last three minutes. But I did manage to stay around."

0Comments
10 reasons to make MSN UK your homepage (© Microsoft)

latest rugby news

  • Mark McCall wants no repeat of Saracens' last meeting with Clermont

    Given their remarkable progress in recent years, it may seem odd this Saracens side's defining moment is perhaps one of their heaviest and most humbling defeats.

  • James Hanks has been advised by doctors to end his playing days due to a neck injury

    Exeter Chiefs lock James Hanks has been forced to retire at the age of 29 due to a neck injury.

  • Lorenzo Cittadini will play for Wasps next season

    London Wasps have announced the signing of Italian tight head Lorenzo Cittadini, who will join ahead of next season.

  • Tom Biggs is leaving Bath for Worcester

    Bath winger Tom Biggs has agreed to join Worcester in the summer, the Warriors have announced.

  • Benjamin Kayser believes Clermont coach Vern Cotter, pictured, has become increasingly ruthless in his approach over time

    Vern Cotter's "ruthless" management has "evolved drastically", leaving the Kiwi coach refusing to discuss his summer Scotland switch as Clermont chase Heineken Cup redemption, according to hooker Benjamin Kayser.

  • Toulon's Bryan Habana, pictured with the ball, admits CJ Stander decision to chase residency in Ireland is a loss to South Africa

    Munster's South Africa-born flanker CJ Stander qualifying for Ireland through residency is a "loss" to the Springboks, admits World Cup winner Bryan Habana.

  • Declan Fitzpatrick has undergone a procedure to correct an irregular heart rhythm

    Ulster prop Declan Fitzpatrick will face further precautionary tests in Belfast after treatment in Glasgow for an irregular heartbeat.

  • Glasgow Warriors' Ryan Wilson has signed a two-year contract extension

    Glasgow Warriors have tied down two more players on extended deals after persuading back-row pair Ryan Wilson and James Eddie to commit themselves to the Scotstoun outfit.

  • Benji Marshall is set for a return to rugby league

    Former New Zealand captain Benji Marshall is seeking a return to rugby league after struggling to adapt to his switch of codes.

  • Ben Ransom scored the vital try for Saracens

    Aviva Premiership leaders Saracens claimed a 23-18 victory over Newcastle at Kingston Park with the home side snatching a vital bonus point in their battle against relegation.

  • Jamie Elliott, pictured right, scored two tries as Northampton beat London Irish

    Northampton pulled seven points clear of third-placed Bath in the Aviva Premiership table after securing an edgy 36-21 win over London Irish at Franklin's Gardens.

  • Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall was pleased his decision to rest several players paid off

    Saracens' decision to rest some of their star names ahead of next week's Heineken Cup semi-final paid off when the Aviva Premiership leaders edged Newcastle 23-18 at Kingston Park.