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    Gatland calls for debate on British and Irish Lions quota system

    The triumphant Lions chief says the Lions should instigate a public debate on whether each touring party should contain a certain number of players from each of the four nations


    Warren Gatland has called on Lions bosses to debate introducing a quota system following the abuse he endured for dropping Brian O’Driscoll in Australia last summer.


    The Lions coach made the controversial decision to axe the Irish legend for the decisive final Test against the Wallabies in Sydney with Gatland selecting 10 of his Welsh charges to start the final Test.


    His decision was vindicated with a thumping 41-16 victory but Gatland was savaged by Lions legends Willie John McBride and most notably Keith Wood, who has also continued his critical assault after the result.


    As well as the O’Driscoll omission, Wood was concerned the Lions had not developed a style of play from all four nations.


    Stuart Hogg, Sean Maitland and Richie Gray were also the only Scottish players in the original 37-man squad, with Gray only playing a bit-part role in the test series with a late replacements cameo on Sydney.


    Now Gatland has called for a debate on whether there should be any national quotas imposed in time for the next tour of New Zealand in 2017 to avoid any further accusations of bias.


    The Wales boss has not thrown his support behind such a system but believes it should at least be discussed.


    “There was an interesting thing for me about the fall-out of the O’Driscoll thing and the number of Welsh players in the last Test,” said Gatland.


    “The outcome is that the Lions should instigate is a public debate about whether they need a quota system.


    “It’s worth debating and I think we should start it off.


    “Do we need a minimum number of players from a country in the squad? And when we are picking a Test side, does there need to be a minimum of one or two in the starting 15?


    “I think I know what the answer will be with that.


    “But if we don’t raise it and debate it to get a consensus, potentially we are going to end up with what we had recently on this tour.”


    Watch Warren Gatland's much-talked about live video Q+A with WalesOnline readers



    Gatland insisted a balance of players between the four nations had not been discussed before travelling to Australia and he was given only one objective.


    “The mandate I was given from the Lions board was do whatever it takes to win a Lions series,” revealed Gatland.


    “I was told ‘I don’t care how you do it, just win the series.’


    “That was my whole focus. It was more important to win a series than anything else.


    “It’s hard then after you’ve achieved it to face criticism over other things when you’re thinking about just winning.


    “I was solely focused on victory and nothing else because it is such a hard challenge.


    “You look back and you have to remember the Lions do things that no other country does.


    “To go away with the Lions, and win a series against one of the top three sides in the world with two games a week, is incredibly tough.”


    Warren Gatland and Rob Howley share a joke with Andy Farrell
    Gatland believes he was not guilty of national bias as he pointed to overlooking right-hand man Shaun Edwards in favour of English defence coach Andy Farrell and the decision to drop Alex Cuthbert for Tommy Bowe in the second Test.


    “I’d like to think that from day one I demonstrated you have got to make some tough calls on Welsh players and coaches, like leaving behind Shaun Edwards,” said Gatland.


    “There was no favouritism there and it was an agonising call, as it was with Alex Cuthbert dropped in favour of Tommy Bowe.”


    Gatland admitted the furore caused by one nation dominating a Lions Test side had never provided as much controversy.


    “I go back to 1993 and I think there were 11 Englishmen that started the third test in Auckland, added Gatland.


    “But there wasn’t the controversy with that when the Lions lost. “On other Lions tours teams have been dominated by a nation, but that’s the way it is.


    “We ended up with 10 Welsh players in the last Test but if certain players hadn’t picked up injuries like Cian Healy and Paul O’Connell, they probably would have started the last test.


    “That might have balanced things out.”


    Gatland admitted he’s still staggered by the personal abuse he received and hit back at Wood last week by describing the former Lions hooker as a ‘me feiner’, an Irish description for self-obsessed people.


    “The reaction was more back here,” reflected Gatland.


    “In Australia there was obviously talk but you don’t realise. I always say selection is a matter of opinion.


    “I made what I thought was the right decision in bringing someone fresh in.


    “I have no problem with people saying ‘I wouldn’t have done that or I wouldn’t have picked him’ from a rugby perspective.


    “It was the other stuff that got to me, the conspiracy theories that it was an anti-Irish thing or a pro-Welsh thing.


    “That personal stuff affected me. Even after the game, when people were saying ‘you must feel vindicated’ but although it was great to win the game, it doesn’t mean that I don’t question myself about the selection.


    “I still wonder was it the right selection. That’s part of your job to go back and question certain decisions you make.”


    O’Driscoll further fanned the flames after the tour by suggesting in an interview Gatland would not be on his Christmas card list.


    The Irish centre moved to make peace last month by handing Gatland a Christmas card in person when the Lions squad met up at Downing Street.


    “I thought it was a nice touch but I was a bit worried when I opened it up on what it might say!” said Gatland.


    “It was pretty straight up. It just said best wishes to you and yours, ‘Brian O’Driscoll and family’.


    Gatland admitted he was happy to recharge his batteries back in his native New Zealand where he gained the opinions of his fellow countrymen.


    “It was good afterwards that I had a break back in New Zealand and gained their perspective on the Lions,” said Gatland.


    “They were more interested in the Lions than the France tour of New Zealand which was travelling around at the same time.


    “So the New Zealanders were following it as much as anyone in terms of performances and results. In the end they were delighted the Lions won the series.


    “All of them are now looking forward to 2017.”


    Following the emotional experiences he has just endured, whether Gatland will be the Lions coach in four years time remains to be seen.


    “You have to psyche yourself up for it,” he conceded.


    “If the opportunity came around, it would be nice but New Zealand is such a tough place to go.


    “If you are going to do it, you’ve got to make sure you have things in place in terms of the right preparation time.


    “The way I always look at these things is that if you are in successful environments then you get other opportunities.


    “The only way I am going to be going to New Zealand in 2017 is if Wales are successful in the next few years.


    “If Wales are successful then I get a chance to be asked again. If Wales are useless, there is no way I am going to get asked.

    http://www.walesonline.co.uk/sport/r...ritish-6244325
    Cé go bhfuil an namhaid trampled underfoot mo thír, fhios ag an teanga d'aois na Breataine Bige aon Retreat. Evan James 1856

    #2
    Dreadful attempt (Alistair-Campbell-esque) to distract attention form his own selection bias by putting forward a ridiculous arguement.
    ​​​​​​#GiveLeinsterTheHCupNow

    Originally Posted by mr chips
    AG gets the responses he does because he is a journalist..

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by AdolphusGrigson View Post
      Dreadful attempt (Alistair-Campbell-esque) to distract attention form his own selection bias by putting forward a ridiculous arguement.
      Actually everything he did was vindicated by the best Lions performance in 20 years. Results are all that matter
      My computer thinks I'm gay
      What's the difference anyway
      When all the people do all day
      Is stare into a phone

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by sewa View Post
        Actually everything he did was vindicated by the best Lions performance in 20 years. Results are all that matter
        Agree with this. He delivered what so many other coaches did not. What he says is correct - there have been times where loads of English lads were starting and nobody complained.

        A lot of fans acting like idiots when their favourites don't get picked.

        Comment


          #5
          He lost a test and barely won the first one against the worst Aussie squad in years. The fact we had to go to the third test to win the series is an indictment of his selections and game plan.
          Shameless self promotion time ladies and gents!
          Munster: Early Season
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          Comment


            #6
            Indictment my hole, his worst selection mistake was picking a washed up centre to tour in the first place
            My computer thinks I'm gay
            What's the difference anyway
            When all the people do all day
            Is stare into a phone

            Comment


              #7
              There's a bit more fuel for the fire in the stats put together by demented mole in studying player performances in rucks - http://dementedmole.com/2013/10/30/r...rks/#more-3681
              Plato: \"One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.\"

              Comment


                #8
                But there is a quota system - didnt he rotate one of the Scots to the bench for every test?

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by tickettout
                  The constant whining and bitching over BOD being dropped shows exactly why we're a second tier rugby nation.

                  He hasn't played well consistently since 2009 at intl level.
                  Had 4 very average 6n's games in a row last year and then had 2 more average games i test 1 & 2 against the Wallabies.
                  Jon Davies more than deserved his chance and subsequently vindicated Gatland.
                  But its the 'winner' Gatland who keeps dragging it up!

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by jeepers View Post
                    But its the 'winner' Gatland who keeps dragging it up!
                    or is he continually asked questions about it?
                    Life is good

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by munstershane View Post
                      or is he continually asked questions about it?
                      Not this time:

                      The triumphant Lions chief says the Lions should instigate a public debate on whether each touring party should contain a certain number of players from each of the four nations


                      Warren Gatland has called on Lions bosses to debate introducing a quota system following the abuse he endured for dropping Brian O’Driscoll in Australia last summer.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        In fairness to Gatland, he won the series, albeit against an awful Oz team.
                        I have always been a big fan of the Lions, but I just didnt enjoy this years. Playing awful mid-week teams, it just didnt have any spice to it.

                        I know Gatland has said he wants to bring Lions to New Zealand but I think with all this Drico stuff and Gatlands comments in the media and his general attitude, I think for the Lions concept as a whole he shouldnt be head coach again.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          He has missed the point completely, the issue raged about BOD because the player he selected ahead of him screwed up royally to concede the test losing try in the match a couple of days before the selection was announced. That is what flared up many fans, noticeably so on here. (BTW hindsight doesn't change that). It wasn't about quotas so have to agree with whoever suggested there is some arse covering going on around the pro Wales policy. (Don't see why he feels the need to try to divert though, the dominant team in the 6N got the most players, hardly a shock).
                          \"A million monkeys with a million crayons would be hard-pressed in a million years to create anything as cretinous as Battlefield Earth.\"

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by munstershane View Post
                            or is he continually asked questions about it?
                            I think they are all continually asked questions about it - imagine if Willie John McBride had been dropped out of the blue like that, that's the level of stir it caused - so makes sense they will keep being asked.
                            \"A million monkeys with a million crayons would be hard-pressed in a million years to create anything as cretinous as Battlefield Earth.\"

                            Comment


                              #15
                              I don't like the way Gatland suggests it was necessary for him to drop BOD for them to win the match. How does he know it wasn't due to other changes ... like Warburton for example. As it happens I probably wouldn't have taken BOD in the first place, but given that he was there and his stats etc from the earlier games he played in, I just cannot understand dropping him for Davies.
                              TBH Im not sure about a quota, but I do think where a team has a high proportion of players from one country, there should be reluctance to increase that proportion even further without very good cause. Those choices where theres little in it, should probably go for players from under- rather than over- represented unions.

                              Comment

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