Lions coach Warren Gatland to meet referee ahead of first Test

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    Warren Gatland has challenged referees to stop New Zealand’s off-the-ball “blocking” in the British and Irish Lions Test series.

    Coach Gatland revealed the Lions have already raised the issue with officials ahead of the first Test against the All Blacks at Auckland’s Eden Park on Saturday.

    Gatland will meet first Test referee Jaco Peyper on Friday to discuss the Lions’ concerns further, in a bid for a clean opening clash.

    “The frustrating thing for us is the amount of blocking that’s going on,” Gatland said.

    “It makes it difficult to complete attacking opportunities and situations.

    “There is so much happening off the ball in terms of holding players or subtly holding players. We’ve raised it with the referees already.

    “If you listen to the ref mic, they were talking about it constantly through the game. They gave a couple of penalties (in Saturday’s 32-10 win over the Maori All Blacks) for blocking.”

    Gatland believes the Lions have been denied a number of try-scoring opportunities because of subtle blocking lines, especially against the Maori.

    Asked if the Lions had been stymied, the 53-year-old said: “Absolutely, yeah. When you go back and look at the tapes and look at all the stuff off the ball, where someone’s run a line or stopped someone getting through, some of it is very subtle.”

    The All Blacks have tried to call the Lions’ bluff by suggesting Gatland’s teams are one-dimensional – but the tourists’ boss insisted he would not lose his nerve ahead of the Test series.

    © PA 2018

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    The Crowd Says (42)

    • June 19th 2017 @ 10:00am
      R2D2 said | June 19th 2017 @ 10:00am | ! Report

      Was it that bad or is Gatland playing porkies ?

    • Roar Guru

      June 19th 2017 @ 10:16am
      PeterK said | June 19th 2017 @ 10:16am | ! Report

      whats new?

      Gatland should know the NZ rugby motto

      All that matters is winning, laws at best are a very loose guideline.
      The only thing to worry about is whether you get caught or not.

      Actually he does, that is why he is bringing this up with the refs.

      • June 19th 2017 @ 12:17pm
        taylorman said | June 19th 2017 @ 12:17pm | ! Report

        assuming he’s right of course, but that probably didnt enter into the equation…

        • June 19th 2017 @ 1:25pm
          rebel said | June 19th 2017 @ 1:25pm | ! Report

          Agree Tman, this is just the usual coach speak. I would like the ref to look at the tackler rolling away and hands in the ruck. Lion’s were allowed multiple goes at the ball on the weekend which slows down the play to suit their style.

      • June 19th 2017 @ 1:21pm
        Hello Everybody. said | June 19th 2017 @ 1:21pm | ! Report

        All teams do it.
        NZ are arguably better at it.
        Some fans acknowledge this, others think their teams are angels because they are a bit biased.

        I cant remember which former Wallabies were dicussing this but 1 said “would we not do the same and act the same if we could?”. The others just sort of danced around for a while before saying “do you think we would?” He replied “I have no doubt if we could we would and we would not be voicing such outrage about it when we did it, that I know for sure”.

        It is sour grapes.
        Nothing more, nothing less.

        All teams do it.

        • June 19th 2017 @ 2:09pm
          Cuw said | June 19th 2017 @ 2:09pm | ! Report

          ditto that

          what i think is some teams are better at some of the things.

          NZ are very good at blocking the kick chase and also running block-lines to let the catcher of bombs run back .

          england are very good at blocking in the line outs. they are also good at the dummy running in such a way that it creates holes without really crossing.

          saffa are better at the holding stuff – at rucks mauls , whatever. they fight among themselves even doing that πŸ™‚

          irleand and maybe scots are very good at the rush defence , which if a very accurate measure is used will be of side most of the time – but then human eye and perception is no that perfect.

          actually what irritated me most was the time Connor MUrray took to clear the ball from a breakdown. it is now illegal to feign , but he would look at defence then loo at his team , then look at defence again and then maybe pass or kick – even after the ref has said use it. one could say that is also trying to win penalty πŸ™‚

          • June 19th 2017 @ 4:03pm
            dontcallmeshirley said | June 19th 2017 @ 4:03pm | ! Report

            What are Australian good at?

            • June 19th 2017 @ 5:41pm
              Cuw said | June 19th 2017 @ 5:41pm | ! Report

              TBH im not sure with this lot , but given the prevalence of Waraths in the line up , i think they will be more inclined to slow the ball down a lot .

              u need to pay bit more attention to the game to pick up certain little things that keep repeating …. sorry to say the aussy are not that interesting to watch.

              anyways had they been good at it , the results would get better me thinks πŸ™‚

            • June 19th 2017 @ 6:05pm
              Jacko said | June 19th 2017 @ 6:05pm | ! Report

              Trying to charge down the conversion

      • June 19th 2017 @ 1:30pm
        jemainok said | June 19th 2017 @ 1:30pm | ! Report

        Arvo PK that is just Gatlands perception, I’m sure Hanson has some equal perceptions on the Lions, what ever they are he will probably voice at the same meeting with Gatland. The coach wouldn’t be doing his job if he doesn’t voice were a team might be getting an advantage, but that works two ways.

      • June 19th 2017 @ 1:33pm
        Jacko said | June 19th 2017 @ 1:33pm | ! Report

        And how good will the ABs be if the Lions cant do the constant blocking they did all game eh peter? I will bet my money that Hansen is meeting with the refs too….Its just that 1 has to make a story about it and 1 just goes about the job of coaching…ALL coaches meet with the refs before the game, or are offered the opportunity too, and turn it down.

        • June 21st 2017 @ 4:23pm
          ClarkeG said | June 21st 2017 @ 4:23pm | ! Report

          I recall Hansen saying last year that they have not met the referees before matches for a long time.

          He may change his tune this time around.

      • June 21st 2017 @ 4:16pm
        ClarkeG said | June 21st 2017 @ 4:16pm | ! Report

        Did I mention Peter it is great to have you back. Yeah I think I did.

    • June 19th 2017 @ 10:32am
      richard said | June 19th 2017 @ 10:32am | ! Report

      Is that right,guru.Maybe Hansen should talk to the referee about the Lions backs continuously being up offside.And,of course their dodgy scrummaging.

      • June 19th 2017 @ 1:23pm
        Hello Everybody. said | June 19th 2017 @ 1:23pm | ! Report

        They will.
        NZ always has meetings with refs.
        Gatland is not doing anything that Shag and company havnt done since day dot.

        • June 21st 2017 @ 4:26pm
          ClarkeG said | June 21st 2017 @ 4:26pm | ! Report

          Not what Hansen said last year.

      • June 19th 2017 @ 5:35pm
        Bakkies said | June 19th 2017 @ 5:35pm | ! Report

        Richard that would be like calling the pot kettle, black

    • June 19th 2017 @ 1:40pm
      Jacko said | June 19th 2017 @ 1:40pm | ! Report

      I hope Gatland annoys the crap out of Poite…..Yells at him about the issues, packs a hissy-fit..threatens a walk-out…..It wont do him much good…..Refs are a pretty resilliant group and dont like being accused of not enforcing rules or of favoring one side…

    • June 19th 2017 @ 1:47pm
      Cynical Play said | June 19th 2017 @ 1:47pm | ! Report

      The ABs play hard off the ball. No question. It’s effective. Blocking is illegal however and should be penalised when obvious. Therein lies the problem. The ABs are good at pushing what’s obvious, whether it be at the bottom of rucks, or taking out players near rucks. No one is better at off ball stuff. i wish the WBs were as good. However, I think Gatland is right to try and level the playing field here.

      • June 19th 2017 @ 2:40pm
        R2D2 said | June 19th 2017 @ 2:40pm | ! Report

        These devilish black ABs, so good at everything they do, they run, they pass, they tackle, they catch, they whisper in the refs ear, they block, so many dark arts , and worse of all , they tend to win.

        • June 19th 2017 @ 3:15pm
          Cynical Play said | June 19th 2017 @ 3:15pm | ! Report

          No argument. They’re great..so why block?

          • Roar Guru

            June 19th 2017 @ 3:37pm
            Ralph said | June 19th 2017 @ 3:37pm | ! Report

            1. They don’t block.

            2. They do sometimes block but it’s incidental and not deliberate.

            3. They do sometimes block and sometimes on purpose but no more than any other team.

            But the Lion’s *sometimes*; stand offside, run blockers, put people in front of the jumper, close the gap at line out time, never release the tackled man, play the ball on the ground, crawl with the ball after the tackle, take the jumper out in the air, play the half back, kick the ball out of the breakdown and scrummage illegally. So what?

            • June 19th 2017 @ 3:49pm
              Cuw said | June 19th 2017 @ 3:49pm | ! Report

              they dont block , they run screens a-la basketball.

              in an ideal world the kickker will have a smooth line of chase to the place where the ball is expected to land , but it is not the case.

              also once the ball is caught , the kick chasers will have easy access to tackle the catcher but then it is not the case.

              but nothing is perfect / ideal , so … πŸ™‚

              • June 21st 2017 @ 4:36pm
                ClarkeG said | June 21st 2017 @ 4:36pm | ! Report

                In an ideal world every player would have a smooth passage to wherever he chooses to go on the field.

                Problem is there is a game of rugby going on.

              • June 21st 2017 @ 4:48pm
                Cuw said | June 21st 2017 @ 4:48pm | ! Report

                that is not ideal πŸ˜›

            • June 19th 2017 @ 4:42pm
              Cynical Play said | June 19th 2017 @ 4:42pm | ! Report

              So nothing. Let the ref sort it out.

              Anyway, if the Lions win it won’t count as

              1. the refs are French
              2. they don’t play running rugby

              …And whatever you do, don’t disrespect the Haka. Don’t look away, don’t blink, don’t stare, don’t wonder why, don’t wonder why not, don’t do the highland fling, don’t engage, don’t disengage… don’t do anything – it’s not allowed.

              Rugby is serious, right Ralph?

              • June 19th 2017 @ 6:14pm
                Jacko said | June 19th 2017 @ 6:14pm | ! Report

                As the Ref is there to enforce the rules…and the ABs havnt been penalised out of every game…One can only presume that no rules are being broken…….Even Gatland said they were close to the line a lot…Where are you supposed to be? I would want my players to be on the EFFing line if I was the coach…I guess the best are up there right on the line and the rest are a long way behind

              • June 20th 2017 @ 5:21am
                Ben said | June 20th 2017 @ 5:21am | ! Report

                Just because your boys lost to Scotland Cynical..no need to take it out on the ABs…

              • June 20th 2017 @ 1:24pm
                richard said | June 20th 2017 @ 1:24pm | ! Report

                Ben,it is Aussie fans living vicariously through a team that might roll the AB’s.Because,based on form Aus certainly won’t.They can’t even beat Scotland ffs.

              • June 21st 2017 @ 4:40pm
                ClarkeG said | June 21st 2017 @ 4:40pm | ! Report

                Sillyyyyyy….silly.

          • June 21st 2017 @ 4:32pm
            ClarkeG said | June 21st 2017 @ 4:32pm | ! Report

            Because they like to be ‘obvious’ perhaps?

    • June 19th 2017 @ 2:22pm
      Tiger said | June 19th 2017 @ 2:22pm | ! Report

      Right on schedule. I love traditions!

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