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Lions Head Coach Warren Gatland demands Test series victory

Guinness PRO12 Rugby Editor

7 Sep 2016


Head Coach Warren Gatland believes the The British & Irish Lions must beat New Zealand to be considered a success.

Gatland was confirmed as Head Coach for the second time in Edinburgh today after leading the Lions to a 2-1 Test-series victory over Australia in 2013.

The Wales coach will immediately take up his role – with Rob Howley taking over temporarily at the Welsh helm – and Gatland flying out to New Zealand on Thursday in preparation for next summer’s ten-match Tour.

The first match of the Tour is against a Provincial Union XV before their three-Test series against the All Blacks kicks off on June 24.

No Lions side has secured a Test series win in New Zealand since Barry John, Willie John McBride and John Dawes inspired the Tourists to a 2-1 success in 1971.

But Gatland, who was an assistant to Ian McGeechan on the 2009 Tour to South Africa, believes he has the players at his disposal to make history.

“I have got to believe we are good enough that we can pick a squad that is good enough to go to New Zealand and beat the All Blacks,” the former Waikato hooker said.

“If we don’t believe that, then we shouldn’t even be getting on the plane.

“If there are players out there who have doubts then make yourself unavailable because we have to go down there as a squad of players and a group of people who believe 100 percent that we are good enough to go to New Zealand and win a Test series.

“Success in 2017 is about going to New Zealand and winning the Test series and I honestly believe we can do that.

“There’s experience in the forward pack and there’s some size as well, there’s some real skill and I am incredibly excited about the potential of a Lions team to go to New Zealand.”

With a record 13 Welshmen turning out in the Lions third Test win over Australia in 2013 and the last three Tour captains to have come from Guinness PRO12 clubs, every single player will be pushing their limits to secure a coveted place on the plane to the Land of the Long White Cloud.

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