Warren Gatland warns of Lions schedule for 2021 South Africa tour
Last Updated: 08/06/18 8:46am
Warren Gatland has warned a tighter schedule for the British and Irish Lions increases the risk of injury.
Gatland, who led the Lions to a series win over Australia in 2013 and drew with the All Blacks last summer, has repeatedly voiced concerns about the Lions schedule after they played 10 games in six weeks in New Zealand.
He says the team needs to be given more preparation time when they travel to South Africa in 2021.
"I felt in New Zealand my biggest concern was flying on the Monday, arriving on the Wednesday, and then playing that Saturday," said Gatland, whose Wales side face Argentina in Saturday's first Test in San Juan.
If you need not the best but adequate preparation, then I find it ironic major nations send teams to the Gold Coast for two weeks to prepare for a sevens programme and the Lions can't go to Hong Kong.
"By doing that we were opening up players to the potential of injury risk.
"My view is that by taking the field as early as we did in New Zealand without adequate preparation, we were doing that.
"I'm not the only who has said that, everyone has."
Gatland's latest comments come after Premiership Rugby chief Mark McCafferty said that shortening the English top-flight season to give more time for the Lions would hamper the domestic competition.
"If you need not the best but adequate preparation, then I find it ironic major nations send teams to [Australia's] Gold Coast for two weeks to prepare for a sevens programme and the Lions can't go to Hong Kong," said Gatland.
"I don't know why they can do that and you can't send your No 1 team away to prepare. Why wouldn't you want the Lions to have at least a week to prepare together?
"If it's in the UK or Ireland before you fly out to South Africa, that would be adequate. It's his [McCafferty's] choice, but it just makes things difficult really. He has his opinion and I have mine."