Gatland raises idea of Lions quota system
December 18, 2013
Warren Gatland - Lots to think about after an intense tour © PA Photos
Warren Gatland has submitted his report on last summer's successful Lions series in Australia and recommended a quota system be considered for future tours.
Gatland's comments about the controversial subject of whether it there was a need to ensure there was equal representation among the home unions came after claims that his selections were too biased in favour of Wales. Ten of the starting XV for the decisive third Test were Welsh and that, plus the dropping of Brian O'Driscoll, caused intense media criticism in the build-up to the game.
"What happened in the last week and the non-selection of Brian, that brought that issue to the fore," Gatland told the Times. "That personal stuff got to me. The debate needs to be in the public domain. It is not my decision. Do we want or need a minimum number of players from a country in the squad and then, when we are picking a Test side, does there need to be a minimum from each country in the starting XV?
"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, then potentially we are going to end up with what we had recently on this tour."
Gatland also said there was pressure on the southern hemisphere countries to field full-strength sides in the tour matches. "We need to negotiate with them because the Lions tour means so much to everyone. It generates so much money."
He said that there was more time needed with the squad before the tour starts - that is unlikely to change given the packed domestic and international schedules - and also a need to avoid the tour party becoming unwieldy.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Huw Richards assesses where Wales are after a mixed Six Nations, with front row seats still very much available for the World Cup
John Mitchell lapped up the action on 'Sensational Saturday' - but warns not to expect a repeat come Rugby World Cup time later this year
Craig Dowd warns England, Ireland and Wales they should play to their strengths rather than those of the All Blacks and the Wallabies
Tom Hamilton runs the rule over just where the six countries stand ahead of the global gathering in September