Gatland vows to be tough on discipline as Wales chief is unveiled as Lions boss
22:55 GMT, 4 September 2012
The Lions will use England’s World Cup controversies as a cautionary tale about the need to avoid damaging off-field episodes during next summer’s tour of Australia.
Once the formal appointment of Warren Gatland as head coach had been confirmed in London on Tuesday, attention turned to his vision – and that of the other members of the Lions hierarchy – on how to make the class of 2013 successful Down Under.
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Aussie rules: Wales coach Gatland will lead the British and Irish Lions on their tour of Oz
A vital factor was the ability to
steer clear of the kind of trouble which stalked Martin Johnson’s
England team during their stay in New Zealand a year ago. That campaign
degenerated amid a torrent of unseemly sagas involving heavy drinking,
dwarf- tossing and ferry-jumping.
‘Those are massively important
things,’ said Gatland, when asked about discipline. ‘Our conduct on and
particularly off the field will be paramount. We’re all aware of what
happened in the World Cup (with England). It is important we address
that and try not to get ourselves into any trouble off the field.’
Tour manager Andy Irvine was emphatic
in his belief that in Gatland the Lions have the best man for the job.
Yet he made a special point about professional conduct and the Kiwi’s
track record in enforcing it.
‘It is a problem,’ said Irvine. ‘In
the amateur days, some of the antics were probably worse. But these
players are professionals, they have their reputations at stake, the
reputations of their clubs, their countries and the Lions. They have a
huge responsibility. We also know that some of them will be targeted.
‘It is something Warren is to be
congratulated on. Wales have had one or two interesting moments in years
gone by but they have had an exemplary record in the last two years.’
Into battle: Tour manager Andy Irvine with Lions head coach Gatland at the announcement
Lions Tour Fixtures 2013
Barbarians – June 1, Hong Kong
Western Force – June 5, Perth
Queensland Reds – June 8, Brisbane
Comb NSW-Queensland Country – June 12, Newcastle
NSW Waratahs – June 15, Sydney
ACT Brumbies – June 18, Canberra
Australia – June 22, Brisbane
Melbourne Rebels – June 25, Melbourne Jun
Australia – June 29, Melbourne
Australia – July 6, Sydney
One of Gatland’s more pressing
problems is the French-based players facing a fixture clash. There are
several prominent Welshmen with Top 14 clubs — Gethin Jenkins at Toulon
and Mike Phillips at Bayonne, James Hook and Luke Charteris at
Perpignan and Lee /09/04/article-2198066-008E396900000258-899_634x466.jpg” width=”634″ height=”466″ alt=”Revenge: The Lions – under Sir Graham Henry and Martin Johnson – lost the 2001 series 2-1″ class=”blkBorder” />
Revenge: The Lions – under Sir Graham Henry and Martin Johnson – lost the 2001 series 2-1
Warren Gatland- factfile
1963: Born September 17 in Waikato, New Zealand
1986: Made his debut for Waikato in the New Zealand provincial championship as a hooker, having switched from a number eight at the age of 21.
1988: Helped Waikato beat the touring Wales team and won his first All Blacks call-up, for the tour to Australia in 1988 and became a regular in the squad.
1994: Retired from playing having made a record number of appearances for Waikato (140) and 17 for the All Blacks, although he never won a Test cap, with his path blocked by Shaun Fitzpatrick.
1996: Coached Connacht for two seasons.
1998: Appointed Ireland head coach.
2001: Appointed Wasps director of rugby and kept the club in the Premiership.
2003: Wasps won Premiership title and Parker Pen European Shield.
2004: Wasps won Premiership title and the Heineken Cup.
2005: Wasps won Premiership title.
2006: Coached Waikato to the New Zealand provincial championship.
2007: Appointed Wales head coach, replacing Gareth Jenkins after Wales had crashed out in the pool stages of the World Cup.
2008: Coached Wales to the Six Nations, including their first win against England at Twickenham for 20 years.
2009: Appointed British and Irish Lions forwards coach for the tour of South Africa. The Lions were beaten 2-1.
2010: Signed a new four-year contract with the Welsh Rugby Union that included a sabbatical to cover the summer of 2013.
2011: Coached Wales to the semi-finals of the World Cup, their best performance since the inaugural tournament in 1987.
2012: Wales won their second Grand Slam in Gatland's tenure.
September 4 – Confirmed as British and Irish Lions head coach for 2013 tour of Australia.