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2013 British & Irish Lions
Gatland determined to keep squad a secret
ESPN Staff
April 25, 2013
Lions boss Warren Gatland talks to former Scotland and Lions international Gavin Hastings

British & Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland insists the players he has chosen for the eagerly-awaited tour to Australia will find out 'with the rest of the rugby world'.

The Lions will name a 36-man squad in London next Tuesday with intense debate surrounding the likely make-up of the tour party and Gatland is determined to keep everyone - including the players - guessing until the official announcement.

"They [the players] are going to find out with the rest of the rugby world," Gatland said. "In the past we have texted players and there has been a bit of a leak out and people have known but no-one is going to know [this time]."

Gatland has also shrugged off concerns that he will orchestrate the Lions' quest for a series victory over the Wallabies despite not having coached since temporarily stepping down from his role as Wales boss to concentrate on his preparations for the tour.

"You always miss the hands on stuff, that's what you are in the game for and what you love and hopefully I haven't forgotten too much," he said before revealing he plans to get to grips with some of his players in the coming weeks although the timing of the Premiership and PRO12 finals mean he will not have the full squad at his disposal until a day before their departure next month.

"We've got a few squads coming together," he explained. "We have three or four days with Wales and then three or four days in Ireland as well with what will be about half the squad without those involved in semi-finals and finals so I will be able to get my hands dirty again."

Gatland also issues a warning to the Wallabies by insisting he is spoilt for choice in some positions. "We feel that in certain positions there are three or four players that could do a job for us," he said. "We're not worrying about who we are going to select, it is more about who we are going to leave out."

An assistant to Sir Ian McGeechan on the Lions' tour of South Africa in 2009, Gatland has drawn on that experience and those of others in his plans for the forthcoming trip Down Under. "I think it is important that I look at previous tours and talk to people who have been on past tours," he said. "A big part of what has come out of talking to people is that often the success of Lions tours has been down to the harmony within the squad. It's about getting the rugby right but also embracing some of the traditions about what the Lions was about in the past and it is important we get that balance right."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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