Warren Gatland unhappy over leaked team news

Warren Gatland announced the team for the first Test on Wednesday
Warren Gatland announced the team for the first Test on Wednesday
©Inpho Photography

British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland expressed his unhappiness over the leaked team news for the first Test against South Africa to be played at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday.

Gatland announced the matchday 23 squad on Wednesday but the team news was already out on the British Publication The Times a day before with the same starting line-up.

The 57-year-old was disappointed with the news breaking out early and labelled it “a betrayal of trust”.

“I don’t know how that happened. It wasn’t 100 per cent right, but obviously someone has leaked that out,” Gatland said.

“Whether that is on purpose or accidentally or someone has betrayed someone’s trust, whether that is player or a staff member – what I will do next week is just name the team to the players and then name the team to the press straight away.”

Alun Wyn Jones was named the captain of the side after making a stunning recovery from a dislocated shoulder while Dan Biggar was chosen over Owen Farrell at fly-half. Stuart Hogg starts at fullback with Anthony Watson and Duhan van der Merwe getting preference at right and left wings respectively.

There was no place for Josh Adams, Toby Faletau and Bundee Aki while Ali Price starts at scrum-half.

Gatland was involved in four successive tours with Lions that includes three series as head coach but he believes the current team selection is most challenging.

“In my four Tours as a Lions coach, this was by far the hardest test selection I have been involved in," he said.

“We couldn’t have asked for more from the players so far; they’ve all put their hands up and made picking a starting XV incredibly difficult.

"We would have been happy with any number of different combinations across the 23, however, we’re very pleased with the side we’ve settled on.”

 

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