Gatland is delighted to have been given the chance and is looking forward to the challenge.
“I’m hugely honoured and delighted to lead the Lions again. It is exciting and a great challenge to coach the best players from the four Home Nations. The Lions rightly have a truly special place in the game and I jumped at the chance to be involved again when I was approached about the role,” he said.
Having previously toured with the side as forwards coach in their 2009 defeat to South Africa, Gatland is motivated to put one over on the Springboks.
“South Africa is a special place to play rugby. They have some of the most iconic stadiums in the world which will be packed full of passionate fans, and the Springboks have shown in recent times that they are back to being one of the dominant forces in the game. Having toured there in 2009 I know the scale of the task ahead of us – playing in South Africa presents a number of unique challenges such as playing at altitude, while the Boks will always be physical, aggressive and highly motivated,” he added.
“History tells you it’s a tough place to tour, but I am 100 per cent confident that we can go there and win – I would not be here if I thought differently. I’m delighted to now have everything in place to begin full-time in August 2020 as that gives me the best possible chance to plan for South Africa, but for the time being my focus is entirely on the Rugby World Cup and delivering a successful campaign for Wales,” he said.
Gatland has already been confirmed as the head coach of a Barbarians team that will take on Wales in November and had been rumoured to be in contention to become the next England head coach.
However, Gatland has taken the opportunity to clarify where he stands on the prospect of leading the Red Roses.
“I can categorically tell you now I will definitely not be coaching England,” he said to TalkSport ending any talk of him taking over from Eddie Jones.
It is rumoured that he could make a move to Super Rugby and eventually be in with a chance of managing the All Blacks, but nothing is certain.
Gatland will be hoping to keep his unbeaten run going with the Lions having overseen a 2-1 series win with Australia before leading the side to a draw with New Zealand four years later.
PREVIEW: All Blacks v Fiji
The Steinlager Series ends on a high in Hamilton as the All Blacks face an incredibly physical and skillful Fijian side who will be eager to improve on the 57-23 score line from Dunedin last week.
Match details: All Blacks v Fiji, Saturday 17 July, 7.05pm (NZT), FMG Stadium Waikato, Hamilton
First game: All Blacks 74, Fiji 13 (27 May 1987)
Last game: All Blacks 57, Fiji 23 (10 July 2021)
Referee: Damon Murphy
FIJI NO SURPRISE PACKAGE
While Fiji’s strong performance in the first Test came as a surprise to some fans, it wasn’t to the All Blacks according to first five-eighth Richie Mo’unga. “We knew what we were going to get and for those who didn’t know, the New Zealand public who don’t watch European rugby, these guys are rock stars over there,” Mo’unga said. Despite a hampered build-up to the first Test with some players not coming out of MIQ until the week of the Test, Fiji pressured the All Blacks in many facets of the game and trailed by just eight points with 20 minutes to go. Fiji Head Coach Vern Cotter believes his side can get even better with another week of preparation under their belt. “The ingredients are there, a brave performance…you can build something from that,” Cotter said.
ARDIE AND ANTON MILESTONES
It will be a night to remember for Ardie Savea and Anton Lienert-Brown who both bring up 50 Tests for the All Blacks. Both players debuted in 2016 as youngsters and have quickly become regular starters and leaders in the All Blacks. Lienert-Brown said it was even more special for him to celebrate the milestone in Hamilton. “This region is probably the reason I am here. It has given a lot to me so to do it at FMG Waikato Stadium is special so I am very grateful.”
Fiji excelled at the breakdown last week in Dunedin and will be looking to edge the All Blacks again in this crucial area. It’s no secret that the All Blacks have been working hard during the week to improve their work at the breakdown and the addition of Ardie Savea to the starting line-up for the first time in 2021 will no doubt boost the All Blacks ability to compete in the tackle zone. Assistant Coach Brad Mooar outlined a simple formula to success at the breakdown: “I think it’s more about just winning the race, beating the opposition to the breakdown, making good decisions and execution as a ball carrier, supporters’ anticipation, and getting into that breakdown,” Mooar said.
This will be the All Blacks 600th Test in the team’s rich history. The first All Blacks Test match was against Australia way back in 1903.
Hear from All Blacks Head Coach Ian Foster on the 23 players named to face Fiji in Hamilton.
Watch the action live on Sky Sport in New Zealand and click HERE for international broadcast details.
All Blacks (caps in brackets):
1: George Bower (2) 2: Codie Taylor (57) 3: Nepo Laulala (30) 4: Scott Barrett (41) 5: Samuel Whitelock – captain (124) 6: Akira Ioane (3) 7: Ardie Savea (49) 8: Luke Jacobson (4) 9: Aaron Smith (98) 10: Richie Mo’unga (23) 11: Sevu Reece (9) 12: David Havili (4) 13: Anton Lienert-Brown (49) 14: Will Jordan (4) 15: Damian McKenzei (29)
Reserves: 16: Dane Coles (76) 17: Ethan de Groot (1) 18: Angus Ta’avao (15) 19: Brodie Retallick (82) 20: Shannon Frizell (13) 21: Brad Weber (8) 22: Beauden Barrett (90) 23: Rieko Ioane (35)
1.Peni Ravai, 2. Samuel Matavesi, 3. Mesake Doge, 4. Temo Mayanavanua, 5. Leone Nakarawa (C), 6. Johnny Dyer, 7. Mesulame Kunavula, 8. Peceli Yato, 9. Frank Lomani, 10. Ben Volavola, 11. Nemani Nadolo, 12. Eneriko Buliruarua, 13. Waisea Nayacalevu, 14. Setareki Tuicuvu, 15. Kini Murimurivalu.
Reserves: 16. Mesulame Dolokoto, 17. Eroni Mawi, 18. Leeroy Atalifo, 19. Albert Tuisue, 20. Kitione Kamikamica, 21. Moses Sorovi, 22. Teti Tela, 23. Manasa Mataele.
World Rugby applies 50/22 law trial globally, bolster concussion protocol
World Rugby announced on Wednesday five law trials which will start next month, including a so-called “50/22” kicking adaptation.
The 50/22 change allows a team to gain a throw-in inside the opposition’s 22-metre area by kicking the ball to touch with at least one bounce from their own half.
The rule was used in recent Super Rugby tournaments and its primary intention is to “encourage the defensive team to put more players in the backfield, thereby creating more attacking space and reducing defensive line speed”, according to the sport’s governing body.
The other laws to come into force on a temporary basis from August 1 include a goal-line drop-out if the ball is held up in the in-goal area, if there is a knock-on from an attacking player in the same area or an attacking kick is grounded by the defenders in their own in-goal.
There are also restrictions on attacking players latching onto team-mates from a ruck and clean-outs which target or drop weight onto the lower limbs at the breakdown.
The final trial allows for a one-player latch before contact, but the individual must “observe all of the requirements for a first arriving player, particularly the need to stay on their feet”.
World Rugby has also moved to strengthen concussion protocols, with independent specialists set to review cases when Test players return to action after a head injury.
They will launch a panel of Independent Concussion Consultants (ICCs) to provide expert opinion on whether players are ready to return to action after head knocks.
The global governing body will fully fund the process for Test-level competitions, with ICCs asked to rule when players look to return to action 10 days or fewer after a concussion or on players deemed higher risk due to previous head-injury history.
Ireland Name Squad For Final Game Of Vodafone Summer Series
Andy Farrell and his coaching team have named the Ireland side to face the USA at the Aviva Stadium in the final fixture of the Vodafone Summer Series. There are four new caps in the starting XV and a further four uncapped players in the replacements.
James Ryan wears the captain’s armband and is partnered in the second row by Ryan Baird who wins his 5th cap in his first start for Ireland. In the backrow Caelan Doris switches to the blindside flank to accommodate Gavin Coombes at No.8 with the uncapped Nick Timoney lining out at openside.
In the front row Tom O’Toole is set to make his international debut alongside Ronan Kelleher and Dave Kilcoyne.
Craig Casey will make his first start for Ireland and will partner his provincial colleague Joey Carbery at half-back. Stuart McCloskey retains the inside centre berth and is joined by fellow Ulsterman, debutant James Hume (pictured above). Hugo Keenan starts his 13th consecutive game for Ireland and is supported in the back field by Andrew Conway and the uncapped Robert Baloucoune.Ireland
The replacements include Dave Heffernan, Ed Byrne, Finlay Bealham, Will Addison and the uncapped quartet Fineen Wycherley, Paul Boyle, Caolin Blade and Harry Byrne.
The match will be televised by RTE (ROI) and on Channel 4’s YouTube channel (UK & NI) and kicks off at 7.15pm.
Ireland Team & Replacements (v USA, Vodafone Summer Series, Saturday, July 10, 7:15 pm)
15. Hugo Keenan (UCD/Leinster) 12 caps
14. Robert Baloucoune (Enniskillen/Ulster) uncapped
13. James Hume (Banbridge/Ulster) uncapped
12. Stuart McCloskey (Bangor/Ulster) 5 caps
11. Andrew Conway (Garryowen/Munster) 24 caps
10. Joey Carbery (Clontarf/Munster) 23 caps
9. Craig Casey (Shannon/Munster) 2 caps
1. Dave Kilcoyne (UL Bohemians/Munster) 44 caps
2. Ronan Kelleher (Lansdowne/Leinster) 12 caps
3. Tom O’Toole (Ballynahinch/Ulster) uncapped
4. Ryan Baird (Dublin University/Leinster) 4 caps
5. James Ryan (UCD/Leinster) 36 caps captain
6. Caelan Doris (St Mary’s College/Leinster) 8 caps
7. Nick Timoney (Banbridge/Ulster) uncapped
8. Gavin Coombes (Young Munster/Munster) 1 cap
16. Dave Heffernan (Buccaneers/Connacht) 5 caps
17. Ed Byrne (UCD/Leinster) 5 caps
18. Finlay Bealham (Buccaneers/Connacht) 15 caps
19. Fineen Wycherley (Young Munster/Munster) uncapped
20. Paul Boyle (Buccaneers/Connacht) uncapped
21. Caolin Blade (Galwegians/Connacht) uncapped
22. Harry Byrne (Lansdowne/Leinster) uncapped
23. Will Addison (Enniskillen/Ulster) 4 caps
Ulster to play Saracens in Pre-Season doubleheader.
Sharks sign former Wallaby & Munster 2nd Row.
Quade Cooper back in Wallabies camp
What rugby is on and where to watch it October – December
Six Nations 2020 – Fixtures & TV Schedule
Farrell Names Ireland’s Six Nations Squad
Pro143 days ago
Edinburgh Rugby appoint new Head Coach
Rugby Championship3 days ago
Wallabies wing leaves Australia for Japan venture
Pro147 hours ago
Sharks sign former Wallaby & Munster 2nd Row.
Premiership3 days ago
England Coach John Mitchell joins Premiership side
Challenge Cup4 days ago
Heineken Champions Cup pool draw for 2021/22
British & Irish Lions5 days ago
Lions team to face Springboks for first Test
Rugby Championship3 days ago
Bledisloe Cup and The Rugby Championship Covid-19 update
Rugby Championship10 hours ago
Quade Cooper back in Wallabies camp