Gatland wants more prep time for Lions

1:24 PM GMT

Warren Gatland insists the British & Irish Lions must have more preparation time ahead of future tours.

With both the PRO12 and Aviva Premiership finals just a week before their first game in New Zealand on June 3, time with players is limited ahead of what Graham Henry branded a potentially ‘suicidal’ itinerary.

“I said in my report that it comes down to three words: preparation, preparation, preparation,” said Gatland. “There are a number of stakeholders involved and they have to understand the future of the Lions and that things should be done properly.

“Last time we had a week in Hong Kong and arrived in Australia with five days to spare, which feels a lifetime compared to arriving on the Wednesday with the first game that Saturday.

“Everyone wants more time but what would be reasonable would be to have a week together with the squad in the UK or Ireland before you travel and arrive seven days before your first game.”

With much talk of a new global rugby season, future Lions tours could be taken into account, but even in its current format, Gatland believes bringing club finals forward a week would help the preparation.

“And the ideal scenario would be not playing a match in the week of the first Test. I hope the Lions are able to negotiate with the stakeholders, the unions and the clubs. It might mean bringing Europe and the finals forward a week so we can have more warm-up time.

“It is a challenge to bring players from four countries together and gel them quickly, which is why you need both preparation time and five warm-up matches.”

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