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Warren Gatland open to work for the Chiefs ‘for free’ if 2021 British and Irish Lions tour is canceled

Chiefs head coach Warren Gatland has revealed he would “absolutely” like to return to the Hamilton franchise next year should the 2021 British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa be canceled. Rugby fans can book DHL Stormers Vs British And Irish Lions Tickets on our website on exclusively discounted prices.

Gatland will leave his post with the Chiefs next season to take the helm of the Lions for a third consecutive tour after leading them to a series win against the Wallabies in 2013 and a series draw against the All Blacks in 2017.

Warren Gatland open to work for the Chiefs 'for free' if 2021 British and Irish Lions tour is canceled
Warren Gatland open to work for the Chiefs ‘for free’ if 2021 British and Irish Lions tour is canceled

He is then expected to return to see out the final two years of his four-year deal with the two-time Super Rugby champions, with Maori All Blacks and Bay of Plenty coach Clayton MacMillan signing a one-year contract to fill the void left by Gatland next season.

South Africa

Should the COVID-19 pandemic, which continues to wreak havoc in South Africa, force the cancellation of the tour to the Republic, Gatland said he would relish the opportunity to return to the Chiefs. The Lions tour was given the go-ahead three weeks ago to allow some “certainty” for the multitude of fans expected to travel from the United Kingdom.

However, with over half a million coronavirus cases in South Africa, there is plenty of uncertainty about the feasibility of the eight-match tour, which is scheduled to kick-off against the Stormers in Cape Town on July 3.

Warren Gatland open to work for the Chiefs 'for free' if 2021 British and Irish Lions tour is canceled
Warren Gatland open to work for the Chiefs ‘for free’ if 2021 British and Irish Lions tour is canceled

“It’s something we haven’t talked about. I’d have to do it for free, probably, I won’t get paid,” Gatland said when asked on Friday if he would like to stay involved in the Chiefs’ plans next season if the Lions tour is called off.

But absolutely. In these last seven or eight weeks, I’ve learned a lot about the players, and what sort of things you’d do differently, what things you would continue with.

“Working with the other coaches, hopefully, the things that we’ve learned collectively will be beneficial for next year. So if he’s with the Lions it’s going to be a challenge. Would I like that continuity? I would. But we’re still day by day and we’re seeing what’s going to be happening in that space going forward.”

Warren Gatland open to work for the Chiefs 'for free' if 2021 British and Irish Lions tour is canceled
Warren Gatland open to work for the Chiefs ‘for free’ if 2021 British and Irish Lions tour is canceled

Warren Gatland

Gatland will head to the UK early next month ahead of the 2020-21 domestic season as he begins to prepare for the tour as the Lions eye their first series win over the Springboks since 1997. The Chiefs, meanwhile, will look to register their first Super Rugby Aotearoa win in their final game of the season against the Hurricanes in Wellington on Saturday.

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British Irish Lions tour 2021: Andy Farrell not expecting a call soon from Warren Gatland

Ireland head coach Andy Farrell does not expect to find out for some time whether he will be a coach on 2021 British and Lions to South Africa.

Farrell has been defense coach on the last two tours under Warren Gatland, who will again take charge next year. Rugby fans can book British Irish lions tickets on our website on exclusively discounted prices.

“Things don’t get sorted out until Warren is quite sure at the end of the next Six Nations what he would want in his squad and his staff,” said Farrell.

“There’s no point second-guessing, I’ve learned that down the years with him.”

British Irish Lions tour 2021: Andy Farrell not expecting a call soon from Warren Gatland
British Irish Lions tour 2021: Andy Farrell not expecting a call soon from Warren Gatland

Who will make the coaching staff for the 2021 Lions tour?

Farrell has received plaudits for his role in the last two Lions tours and is yet to experience a series defeat after the tourists beat Australia in 2013 then drew with then-world champions New Zealand four years later.

Despite having a good relationship with Gatland, the rugby league icon is not taking anything for granted in terms of his involvement next summer.

“Warren’s a friend of mine and we speak from time to time,” added Farrell, who became Ireland head coach last year.

“I’ve enjoyed working with him and he’d be somebody that I speak to along the way anyway.

“But he always keeps his cards close to his chest.”

The coronavirus pandemic has prompted a new look for the international rugby calendar, with Ireland set to play six games in seven weeks this autumn after the 2019-20 club season is belatedly brought to a conclusion.

British Irish Lions tour 2021: Andy Farrell not expecting a call soon from Warren Gatland
British Irish Lions tour 2021: Andy Farrell not expecting a call soon from Warren Gatland

With the next 12 months set to be busy to unprecedented levels as competitions seek to make up for a lost time, Farrell anticipates the high volume of matches will see a larger pool of players come into contention for a place on the Lions tour.

“It’s a hell of a year which finishes with what I’d imagine is everyone’s dream,” he said.

“If you’ve got aspirations to play international rugby, I’m sure you aspire to be a British and Irish Lion.

“I know what Warren is like if somebody grabs the bull by the horns at the start of the season and continues that over a long old period of this season, anything can happen.”

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British & Irish Lions Series Bolters – South Africa

With the British and Irish Lions Series in South Africa less than a year away, LWOSRugby takes a look at potential bolters for the tour. First, they are the Springboks. Rugby fans can book South Africa A Vs British And Irish Lions Tickets on our website on exclusively discounted prices.

The Forwards

Jaco Coetzee. 24. 108kg. Back row. 0 Test caps.

The strength and depth that South Africa boasts in the back row is downright terrifying and makes this a bold prediction. World Cup champions Siya Kolisi, Duane Vermuelen, and the world’s best player Pieter-Steph du Toit are likely to continue as the starting bottom row. However, the retirement of Francois Louw has opened a place on the bench and Jaco Coetzee is more than just a pretender to the throne.

British & Irish Lions Series Bolters - South Africa
British & Irish Lions Series Bolters – South Africa

Coetzee, a dynamic and aggressive ball-wielding winger in the mold of … well, every South African winger who has played the game, also boasts a deceptive change of pace, the force on the ball, and is a starting option. Its versatility means it can cover six, seven and eight and could be an ideal hit substitute as part of Rassie and Jacques’s “Bomb Squad”.

Picking Jaco Coetzee ahead of players like Marcel Coetzee, Dan, and Jean-Luc du Preez, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, and Arno Botha, all of them with Springbok experience, would certainly place the cat among the pigeons. However, with fierce performances in Super Rugby and the Currie Cup in recent seasons, Coetzee has played himself in a well-deserved contest.

The Backs

Curwin Bosch. 23. 83kg. Fly-half. 2 test plugs.

Curwin Bosch has been in and around the Springbok discussion for so long that it hardly feels good to call him a “bolter.” However, with only 2 international matches to his name, his international career is still in its infancy.

British & Irish Lions Series Bolters - South Africa
British & Irish Lions Series Bolters – South Africa

In 2020 Bosch has come of age. The backing of his coaches has finally allowed him to establish himself in his preferred mid-flight position and he is reaping the rewards. Arguably, Bosch, already the best tactical kicker in South Africa, has added a few more strings to his bow. The defensive weaknesses that have so far stalled his progression are slowly fading and as his confidence has grown he has become a high-quality fly ball game, a rarity in South Africa.

Pollard and Jantjies appear to be the preferred flying mediums for the Lions series, but an injury to either of them would land Bosch straight into the fold, likely ahead of Damian Willemse, who is currently suffering from the same ‘medium’ identity crisis. Steering wheel against lateral ‘. That haunted Bosch not long ago.

The Wildcard

Aphelele Fassi. 22. 87 kg. Full back. 0 Test caps.

Many in the northern hemisphere have not heard the name of Aphelele Fassi. Get to know it well: it’s a name you’ll hear a lot over the next decade.

This year Fassi burst onto the Super Rugby scene with dazzling performances against Jaguars and Highlanders. He finished the shortened season with the second-highest number of meters gained 619, as well as eight line jumps, 22 tackles, and three attempts to his name. So impressive has this year been that the South African rugby zeitgeist is tipping it off to be the next big thing.

British & Irish Lions Series Bolters - South Africa
British & Irish Lions Series Bolters – South Africa

Fassi’s talent may be crude, but it is undeniable. His pace is electrifying and he would play in the Lions series, he would be the fastest player on the field, yes even before Johnny May.

Complementing his speed is his footwork and vision, a brilliant cocktail of attributes that have made Fassi particularly adept at finding holes where there shouldn’t be any. A powerful kicking game, perfected from a school career in the air, makes Fassi a more complete player than one might predict.

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Warburton joins British & Irish Lions Charitable Trust

The British & Irish Lions Charitable Trust has announced a new board of trustees with former Wales and Lions captain Sam Warburton among those joining with immediate effect.

Warburton comes on board alongside former Ireland international Fergus Slattery – a Lions tourist in 1971 and 1974 – who is Chairman. Rugby fans can book British Irish lions tickets on our website on exclusively discounted prices.

England’s 2003 World Cup winner Richard Hill and Scotland and Lions legend Gavin Hastings are also involved.

Warburton joins British & Irish Lions Charitable Trust
Warburton joins British & Irish Lions Charitable Trust

Established in 2002, the Lions Charitable Trust focuses on providing financial support for the home unions’ funds for injured players and offering assistance to Lions who may have fallen on hard times.

Warburton won the first of his 74 caps for Wales in 2009 and went on to skipper his country 49 times in a stunning nine-year international career.

At the age of 24, Warburton was made the youngest ever Lions captain for the victorious 2013 tour to Australia. He also led the Lions again four years later in New Zealand as the sides drew 1-1.

Warburton said: “I am thrilled to be joining the Lions Charitable Trust at an incredibly exciting time for the charity and help lead it on the next stage of its development.

“The work of the Trust is incredibly important in providing help to support former Lions in hardship.

“I look forward to working with the other Trustees and Lions staff to build on the excellent work that has already been carried out to date.”

Shane Whelan, Secretary of the Lions Charitable Trust, said: “We are delighted to appoint Fergus Slattery as Chairman and such an esteemed cohort of Trustees.

Warburton joins British & Irish Lions Charitable Trust

“Their knowledge and network, which spans four generations of Lions, will be an exceptional asset as we develop the Trust and ensure it is in the best possible position to support worthy causes and former Lions in times of crisis.”

Slattery added: “I am honored to have been selected to join the new Board and to take on the role of Chairman. The Trust is at an important point in its development and has a great opportunity to build its influence in the world of rugby.

“I am excited to work alongside my fellow trustees and to be supporting the organization and its vital work.”

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British and Irish Lions series bolters South Africa

With the British and Irish Lions Series to South Africa less than a year away, LWOSRugby takes a look at the potential bolters for the tour. First up, it’s the Springboks.

The Forwards

Jaco Coetzee. 24. 108kg. Back Row. 0 test caps.

The strength and depth that South Africa boasts in the back row is frankly frightening and makes this a bold prediction. World Cup winners Siya Kolisi, Duane Vermuelen, and the best player in the world Pieter-Steph du Toit are likely to continue as the starting back row. The retirement of Francois Louw, however, has opened up a spot on the bench and Jaco Coetzee is more than a mere pretender to the throne. Rugby fans can book British Irish lions tickets on our website on exclusively discounted prices.

British and Irish Lions series bolters South Africa
British and Irish Lions series bolters South Africa

A dynamic and aggressive ball-carrying flanker in the mold of… well, every South African flanker that’s ever played the game really, Coetzee also boasts a deceptive turn of pace, strength over the ball, and is a lineout option. His versatility means he can cover six, seven, and eight and might be an ideal impact substitute as part of Rassie and Jacques’ ‘Bomb Squad’.

Choosing Jaco Coetzee ahead of players such as Marcel Coetzee, Dan, and Jean-Luc du Preez, Sikhumbuzo Notshe and Arno Botha (all of whom have Springbok experience) would certainly set the cat amongst the pigeons. However, with ferocious performances in Super Rugby and the Currie Cup over the last few seasons, Coetzee has played himself into deserved contention.

The Backs

Curwin Bosch. 23. 83kg. Fly Half. 2 caps.

Curwin Bosch has been in and around the Springbok discussion for so long now that it almost doesn’t feel right to call him a ‘bolter’. Yet, with only 2 caps to his name his international career is still very much in its infancy.

British and Irish Lions series bolters South Africa

In 2020 Bosch has come of age. Backing from his coaches has allowed him to finally settle at his preferred position of fly-half and he is reaping the rewards. Arguably, already South Africa’s best tactical kicker, Bosch has added a few more strings to his bow. The defensive frailties that have hitherto stalled his progression are slowly vanishing and as his confidence has grown he has become a top quality ball-playing fly half (something of a rarity in South Africa).

Pollard and Jantjies look set to be the preferred flyhalves for the Lions series but an injury to either would bring Bosch right into the fold – probably ahead of the Damian Willemse who is currently suffering the same ‘fly-half vs full-back’ identity crisis that haunted Bosch not long ago.

The Wildcard

Aphelele Fassi. 22. 87kg. Full Back. 0 test caps.

Many in the northern hemisphere have not heard the name Aphelele Fassi. Get well acquainted – it’s a name you’ll be hearing a lot over the next decade.

British and Irish Lions series bolters South Africa
British and Irish Lions series bolters South Africa

This year Fassi burst onto the Super Rugby scene with dazzling performances against the Jaguares and Highlanders. He ended the curtailed season with the second most meters gained (619) as well as eight line breaks, 22 tackle busts, and three tries to his name. So impressive has he been this year that the South African rugby zeitgeist is tipping him to be the next big thing.

Fassi’s talent may be raw, but it is undeniable. His pace is electrifying and he was to play in the Lions series he would be the fastest player on the pitch (yes… even ahead of Johnny May). Complimenting his speed is his footwork and vision – a scintillating cocktail of attributes that have made Fassi particularly adept at finding holes where none should exist. A potent kicking game, honed from a school career at fly-half, makes Fassi a more rounded player than one might predict.

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British and Irish Lions Tour: Gatland in the talks with Lancaster

British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland has exposed discussions with former England coach Stuart Lancaster for the 2021 tour of South Africa next year. Rugby fans can book South Africa Invitational Vs British And Irish Lions Tickets on our website on exclusively discounted prices.

Gatland is eager to have Lancaster, who was England’s coach between 2011 and 2015 onboard as an assistant.

British and Irish Lions Tour: Gatland in the talks with Lancaster
British and Irish Lions Tour: Gatland in the talks with Lancaster

THE LIONS WANT LANCASTER

On the Lions’ previous tour of South Africa in 2009, former Wales coach Gatland began his association with the team. Lancaster has experience in rugby testing and also has a unique vision of the game in Ireland as he currently works with the Pro14 Leinster team.

“I have a lot of respect for him Lancaster,” Gatland said on the Sky Sports podcast.

We met before the last tour and he talked to me about his opinions on the Leinster players and the Irish players and he gave me an insight into them and I appreciated that. So, look, he’s definitely a person that I’ve talked to.

“I’ve had a couple of conversations with him, but there are a number of other people that I’m going to look at and talk to, and the first step is to get clarity from unions and bosses and then potentially club CEOs. About who is available, who is not available?”

British and Irish Lions Tour: Gatland in the talks with Lancaster
British and Irish Lions Tour: Gatland in the talks with Lancaster

The scheduling uncertainty surrounding the upcoming European club rugby season may give Gatland some national team headaches. Lions may have to bring a much larger than normal tourist party to South Africa and will need to keep an eye on the North as they continue their role in the New Zealand Chiefs.

GATLAND IS NOT CONCERNED ABOUT THE SARACENS RELIGATION

Gatland does not believe the Saracen decline will negatively impact the chances of Owen Farrell and Maro Itoje making the cut.

We understand that maybe playing in the Championship is not going to be on the same level, but I hope that those players will get a significant amount of international rugby between now and the tour, and if you look at them, a lot of them are very experienced and experienced activists as well Added the coach of the British and Irish Lions.

British and Irish Lions Tour: Gatland in the talks with Lancaster
British and Irish Lions Tour: Gatland in the talks with Lancaster

Perhaps the positive thing about the Saracen players is that they are going to play some test matches, they are going to play some championship games, but they are going to come to the tour really refreshed and excited and probably they are probably in better shape than many other players because they haven’t had the same level of intensity. But I’m just speculating on that right now. It’s just a matter of waiting and seeing.

“I really don’t have any worries or concerns about what state they will be in, because I think they are going to get enough high-level rugby before the tour.”

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Jamie Ritchie: Scotland forward humbled by British and Irish Lions talk

Jamie Ritchie admits it is extremely humbling to be discussed as a potential British and Irish Lions pick for next year’s tour of South Africa.

Ritchie, 23, has established himself in Edinburgh and Scotland’s back row.

But although former Lions coach Sir Ian McGeehan was one of those to put him in the frame he is reluctant to look ahead that far. Rugby fans can book British Irish lions tickets on our website on exclusively discounted prices.

“It’s something I’ve dreamt about since I was a kid but I need to put myself in that position,” he said.

Jamie Ritchie: Scotland forward humbled by British and Irish Lions talk
Jamie Ritchie: Scotland forward humbled by British and Irish Lions talk

“Hopefully, I’ll be in with a shout but there’s a lot of rugby between now and then and I just need to keep playing well.

“It’s extremely humbling to be included in these conversations, especially from guys like Sir Ian. It would be a huge honor.

“A lot of people can get caught up in looking too far ahead. It’s a bit of a cliche but you’re only as good as your last game. So I’m just going to be concentrating on getting back to some sort of form.”

Ritchie on off-field trauma and growing up fast

Ritchie certainly hopes there is a lot of rugby between now and then; given the frustration of sitting idle as Covid-19 brought a halt to the season.

His Edinburgh side resumes their quest for a Pro14 semi-final place with a double-header against Glasgow Warriors at Murrayfield later this month, knowing two victories should be enough to keep them top of Conference B as they seek a home semi-final.

Jamie Ritchie: Scotland forward humbled by British and Irish Lions talk

“Hugely important,” said Ritchie of that prospect. “Any team that goes into that position where they can get a home semi is giving themselves a huge advantage. Our home record is pretty strong. Playing at home is a benefit for any team whether there’s a crowd there or not.”

Ritchie admits his “body enjoyed a bit of a rest” during the lockdown, though he did “get roped into organizing a Zoom fitness class every Saturday morning”.

“Three months away from Murray field is the longest time I’ve had off since I finished school,” he added. “Bits of it were nice – spending time with the family, the kids. It was a really special time in a lot of ways in terms of taking stock of things we probably take for granted.”

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Selection of British and Irish Lions by Jim Hamilton in 2021

Former second-row Scotsman Jim Hamilton has chosen his fifteen initials for the 2021 British and Irish Lions Tour of South Africa. Rugby enthusiasts can book South Africa A Vs British And Irish Lions Tickets on our website on exclusively discounted prices.

Selection of British and Irish Lions by Jim Hamilton in 2021
Selection of British and Irish Lions by Jim Hamilton in 2021

British and Irish Lions are one of the world’s most famous teams in rugby. Every four years, Lions, selected from the national sides of England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, head to the southern hemisphere to fight rugby heavyweights in New Zealand, Australia, or South Africa.

In 2021, the highly anticipated series will visit some of the most impressive stadiums in world sport and culminate in three test matches against newly crowned Rugby World Cup champions, the Springboks.

British and Irish Lions

The eight-game tour begins on Saturday, July 3, 2021, when the British and Irish Lions play Vodacom Super Rugby’s DHL Stormers in Cape Town. Three weeks later, the FNB stadium in Johannesburg will host the first test, a venue that hosted the Springboks in 2013.

Selection of British and Irish Lions by Jim Hamilton in 2021
Selection of British and Irish Lions by Jim Hamilton in 2021

The second test continues on Saturday, July 31 at the Cape Town Stadium, the Lions’ first test in the Mother City since 1997, before tourists return to Gauteng for the final test on Saturday, August 7 at the Emirates. Airline Park, the famous venue of the 1995 Rugby World Cup Final.

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British & Irish Lions boss Warren Gatland holds talks with Stuart Lancaster over coaching role

William Stuart Lancaster is in line for a coaching job with the Lions after holding talks with Warren Gatland.

The ex-England boss hasn’t coached at Test level since the disastrous 2015 World Cup.
But Lancaster has turned his career around at Irish giants Leinster – and is one of the most sought-after brains in the game after helping them win the 2018 Champions Cup. Rugby fans can book British Irish lions tour Tickets on our website on exclusively discounted prices.

And Gatland, the 50-year-old’s arch enemy when at Wales, is now keen to get him to help out on next summer’s Lions tour of South Africa.

British & Irish Lions boss Warren Gatland holds talks with Stuart Lancaster over coaching role
British & Irish Lions boss Warren Gatland holds talks with Stuart Lancaster over coaching role

Gatland said: “I’ve spoken to Stuart and we’ve had a couple of conversations.

“I think you’ve got to take your hat off to Stuart. He finished with England, then he’s gone away and he’s done some professional development; gone around and looked at other sports, and then he’s taken up this role with Leinster.

“There’s definitely for him a lot of things that he would have learned from that experience.There’s no doubt what he’s done and the impact that he’s had since his time with Leinster.

“He’d say that he’s definitely improved as a coach and I have a huge amount of respect for him.

“We met before the last tour and he spoke to me about his opinions on the Leinster players and the Irish players and gave me an insight into them and I appreciated that.

“He’s definitely one person that I’ve spoken to and had a couple of conversations with him, but there’s a number of other people that I’ll be looking to talk to.

“The first step is to get clarity from unions and the bosses and then potentially club CEOs about who is available, who isn’t available.

British & Irish Lions boss Warren Gatland holds talks with Stuart Lancaster over coaching role
British & Irish Lions boss Warren Gatland holds talks with Stuart Lancaster over coaching role

“If you weren’t picking someone from an international setup and you were looking at someone from a club setup, then you’ve got to look at what’s their availability in terms of that timing of the year and they’ve got club games on and you’ve got selection meetings and all those sorts of things.

“So there’s a lot of things, a huge number of things to consider, and hopefully in the next couple of months we will be able to put all that together.”

Speaking on the Sky Sports rugby podcast Gatland also reassured Saracens stars like Owen Farrell and Maro Itoje that their places on the tour were safe – even though they will be playing in the Championship next season against students and part-timers.

Gatland added: “We understand that maybe playing in the Championship is not going to be quite the same level, but hopefully those players are going to get a significant amount of international rugby between now and the tour.

“And if you look at them, a lot of them are pretty experienced and pretty seasoned campaigners as well.

British & Irish Lions boss Warren Gatland holds talks with Stuart Lancaster over coaching role
British & Irish Lions boss Warren Gatland holds talks with Stuart Lancaster over coaching role

“Maybe the positive thing about the Saracens players is they’re going to play some Test matches, they’re going to be playing some Championship matches.

“But they’re going to come on tour really refreshed and really excited and probably maybe in better shape than a lot of other players because they haven’t had quite the same level of intensity.

“I’m just speculating about that at the moment. It’s just a matter of wait and see.

“It’s not as if those players aren’t experienced or haven’t achieved at the highest level, and a lot of them who have been involved with England or been on previous Lions tours have been very much at the top of the game.”

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Ugo Monye – Plenty of time for prospective British Lions

Former England and British & Irish Lions wing Ugo Monye says there will be more than enough opportunities for players to prove themselves before the 2021 tour of South Africa.

Monye has personal experience of rising from the fringes as he went from playing as a reserve for the English Saxons to starting against the Springboks when the Lions last toured South Africa in 2009. Rugby fans can book Springboks vs British and lions Tickets on our website on exclusively discounted prices.

Ugo Monye - Plenty of time for prospective British Lions
Ugo Monye – Plenty of time for prospective British Lions

The then 26-year-old not only scored an excellent solo try in the third Test, which the Lions won but also finished the tour as the top try-scorer – with five scores to his name.

With over half of 2020 already lost to the Covid-19 pandemic, prospective Lions players will be concerned over whether they will be left with enough time to prove their worth before the tour gets underway in July next year.

However, Monye told the Lions website that while a few names may already be penciled in for next year’s squad, there will still be plenty of time for a couple of surprise names to surface.

‘I got capped in November 2008 and ended up going on a Lions Tour with six international caps,’ Monye said. ‘There is all manner of opportunity and I think it’s a really interesting time.

‘We have seen players emerge in the Premiership and almost get capped this season – Louis Rees-Zammit is absolute lightning and I’d say he’d go well on a fast track in South Africa.

Ugo Monye – Plenty of time for prospective British Lions

‘The impact that these players can have, I wouldn’t be ruling anyone out. There will be four or five players that are not on the Lions radar now that will be spoken about regarding going on that Tour.

‘There won’t be many but there will be some guys that enter the conversation, but there is a big difference between being part of the conversation and being on the plane – that’s for sure.

‘No one knows what this rugby world in the next year is going to look like. But if we can get a full calendar of games, Autumn Internationals in whatever capacity, Six Nations as well as the domestic leagues and European competition – there are enough games at a high level to be able to prove yourself.

‘So, for anyone who doesn’t feel they are automatic selection, it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter. There are plenty of games, plenty of opportunities to make a late surge.’

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