Gatland Gave His Loose-trio Licence To Thrill


B&I Lions head coach Warren Gatland has given his loose-trio a licence to thrill in their game on Wednesday when they face the Cell C Sharks at the Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg. The match kicks off @ 19h00.

The game is the second of eight Tour matches in the 2021 Castle Lager Lions Series, which culminates with three Tests against the World Champion Springboks. The Lions opened their 2021 Castle Lager Lions Series with an eight-try victory over Sigma Lions last Saturday.

“There’s a huge amount of competition in the back row and I spoke to them all last night and just said, ‘Look, you’ve got a licence from me to get your hands on the ball’,” Gatland said.

“I want them to express themselves. I said they are probably not renowned as lineout experts but you have to play to your strengths, and they are strong defenders and great ball carriers.

“It’s a different aspect to look at but it’s exciting and I’m really looking forward to seeing how they go as a trio. If you look at those players they are strong defenders, exciting ball carriers.

“They’ve all got good footwork. Sometimes you get a different balance in a loose forward trio, where you’re picking a lineout specialist, someone plays tighter and maybe hits more rucks.

“These players all have pretty similar attributes, some of them are going to have to mix and match with making sure they do the graft work but the message was play to your strengths.

“We don’t want to pigeon-hole them, we want to give players the opportunity to play to their strengths – for some that’s getting their hands on the ball and using that ability.

“Other players are very strong at the breakdowns, very strong from a defensive perspective, tackling, turning the ball over, they just have a licence to go and be positive.

“I’m looking forward to seeing how the back row goes; it’s an exciting mixture and one that we hope will offer something a bit different.”