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British and Irish Lions partner with digital platform innovators PT Sport Suite

PT Sport Suite has been chosen by The British & Irish Lions to provide media services, which empower the Lions’ to tell the story of the 2021 tour to South Africa.

With less than a year until the squad touches down in Cape Town, the partnership will establish a cloud media ecosystem that transforms the way the Lions collect, manage and share their digital media while enabling the collection of media content from players and supporters.

“The partnership will establish a cloud media ecosystem that transforms the way the Lions collect, manage and share their digital media”

British and Irish Lions partner with digital platform innovators PT Sport Suite
British and Irish Lions partner with digital platform innovators PT Sport Suite

By transforming the Lions’ digital media workflow, unlocking the power of their digital media archive, and providing video OTT distribution to the tour mobile app and web platform, supporters will enjoy more epic sporting content than ever before.

In a key attraction for the Lions, PT Sport Suite will work with existing partners to ensure unprecedented collaboration between all stakeholders – by providing an official media portal that gives sponsors real-time access to exclusive Lions media.

The biggest stakeholders will always be the ‘sea of red’ Lions supporters. To make South Africa 2021 a truly fan-first affair, supporters will be allowed to make their mark on the team’s rich history by making their own Lions media submissions via a series of fan content challenges.

PT Sport Suite CEO Rich Cherry said: “It’s a great honor for our team to be working with the British & Irish Lions – one of the world’s great sporting brands – and their partners. The epic 97 Lions tour of South Africa is still indelibly printed in my sporting memory, so for PT Sport Suite to be bringing our digital ecosystem to bear is very exciting for our sports-mad team.

“We’re looking forward to working with the Lions to provide a foundation upon which to unearth the digital gems of past tours – Rich Cheery, PT Sport Suite CEO”

“We’re looking forward to working with the Lions digital team to provide a sound and scalable foundation upon which to unearth the digital gems of past tours on a level not seen before while providing passionate Lions fans with the opportunity to make an indelible mark on future tours. Their media contributions will add immense value to the ever-growing Lions archive of tour-generated media.”

British and Irish Lions partner with digital platform innovators PT Sport Suite

British & Irish Lions director of digital, media, and communication Shane Whelan said: “We are delighted to have partnered with PT Sport Suite, who we have worked closely with over the past few months. The digital archive is a fantastic addition and allows us to be more efficient in terms of storage of key digital assets.”

“We look forward to maximizing the broad offering of fan engagement functionality that PT boasts over the next few months – Shane Whelan, B&I Lions director of digital, media and communications”

“Also, we have already seen the benefit of the video platform in terms of our new look website and recently launched app. We look forward to maximizing the broad offering of fan engagement functionality that PT boasts over the next few months.”

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Five big names who WON’T be in the British Lions squad in 2021

Head coach Warren Gatland has revealed he will name the smallest touring party ever assembled for a British & Irish Lions tour in 2021

Gatz took 41 players on the last tour but has revealed the much smaller group next year.

Therefore, the squad who jets off to South Africa next July is sure to leave a few big names behind.

Here, RUCK selects five huge names who we think could very well be the unlucky ones to miss out on selection.

Jonathan Davies (Wales)

Jonathan Davies (Wales)
Jonathan Davies (Wales)

Lads, it’s impossible to deny the center was phenomenal four years ago in New Zealand and he was deservedly the man of the series – but when was the last time he honestly had a decent game? Under Wayne Pivac, the 30-year-old has made five underwhelming appearances with an average score of 5/10 from the player rating section The Rugby Paper during this period. We can pretend he’s the same player all we want, but it’s simply not true.

Jonny May (England)

Jonny May (England)

Might be being a bit brutal here, but May peaked last year and hasn’t been at his try-scoring best for a while now. Failed to score for Gloucester after rejoining them from Gloucester in July with his barren run stretching into his last two internationals. The speedster has now failed to cross the whitewash in his last nine hours of play. This would be unfortunate, but his badly timed dip in form could cost him a place on the Lions tour.

Taulupe Faletau (Wales)

Taulupe Faletau (Wales)
Taulupe Faletau (Wales)

Another Welshman who started four years ago, but injuries have begun taking their toll on the powerhouse. He’s recently returned to the international fold but looks a shadow of his former self. CJ Stander, Billy Vunipola, Caelan Doris represent significant competition for a place in the squad.

Finn Russell (Scotland)

Finn Russell (Scotland)

On paper, he’s possibly the most talented player the British Isles has to offer. However, let’s be frank, the Scots’ flair and unpredictability are not what Gatland looks for In a number 10. Against South Africa, he’ll want a playmaker that looks after the ball, which just isn’t Russell, who conceded five turnovers for Racing in the recent Champions Cup final. You can already imagine the outcry come June when Dan Biggar or George Ford are called up ahead of him

Hamish Watson (Scotland)

Hamish Watson (Scotland)
Hamish Watson (Scotland)

This is just sad. Nobody would complain about the back-rower making the squad, but let’s assume Gatland only going to select two open sides. There is a lot of competition with Justin Tipuric, Sam Underhill, Jack Willis, and Josh van der Flier battling out for those places. When it comes down to marginal picks, the Scots almost always miss out.

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British and Irish Lions v Japan: England players set to Miss Murrayfield warm-up

Britain players are set to miss the British and Irish Lions warm-up coordinate against Japan on 26 June Since it is outside World Rugby’s Test window.

“Right now Premiership Rugby has not authorized the arrival of English-based players.” Lions overseeing Chief Ben Calveley revealed to BBC Sport. Rugby fans can book British lions 2021 tickets on our website at exclusively discounted prices.

The limitation implies Scotland commander Stuart Hogg, who plays for Exeter. He would likewise miss the Murrayfield game. The Premiership last is on 26 June – the very day as the Lions’ warm-up.

Anyway, Calveley said he trusted that an arrangement could be reached. This will permit players from the 10 Premiership clubs not playing in the homegrown show-stopper to be included against Japan.

British and Irish Lions v Japan: England players set to Miss Murrayfield warm-up
British and Irish Lions v Japan: England players set to Miss Murrayfield warm-up

“If there is a way that the players that aren’t playing in the last could be made accessible for the match then obviously we might want that,” additional Calveley.

We will proceed in exchange for the entirety of the partners in question.

“Whoever is wearing Lion’s pullover will be an unimaginably top-notch gathering of players prepared to take on that challenge against Japan.”

Hogg’s Exeter and Scotland partner Jonny Gray and Wales. Bath number eight Taulupe Faletau is likewise set to be inaccessible for the installation of the way things are.

Remarkable Conditions:

Britain’s players all play their club rugby on home soil with a determination of abroad players for the global side just permitted in “remarkable conditions”.

World Rugby specifies that homegrown sides are just obliged to deliver players to play worldwide installations from the primary seven day stretch of July. The Lions’ start their visit through South Africa against Cape Town-put together commonplace side the Stormers to 3 July.

The primary Test against the best on the planet Springboks is in Johannesburg on 24 July The second and third Tests on the accompanying two ends of the week.

Calveley said he was “totally hopeful” that the visit would proceed notwithstanding the troubles of Covid. Although conceding that “we are possibility arranging out of sight if various situations arise”.

British and Irish Lions v Japan: England players set to Miss Murrayfield warm-up
British and Irish Lions v Japan: England players set to Miss Murrayfield warm-up

The Japan match will be an uncommon “home” installation for the Lions. They drew with Argentina in Cardiff before the 2005 visit through New Zealand However, have endeavored to orchestrate abroad warm-up matches before ongoing outings.

The 2013 group beat the Barbarians in Hong Kong on a visit on the way to Australia. Japan arrived at the last eight of the Rugby World Cup on home soil in 2019 Progressing from the pools to the detriment of Scotland. They additionally scored an outstanding triumph over South Africa in the 2015 competition.

“They are a capable side who play high-beat rugby, so it’ll be a decent test for us,” said Lions lead trainer Warren Gatland.

“The matchday crew can put hands up for Test choice.”

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Warren Gatland warns Japan warm-up will influence British and Irish Lions Test selection

Lions mentor trusts ‘good judgment will win’ concerning Premiership players being delivered for Murrayfield apparatus. Warren Gatland trusts “sound judgment wins”. An understanding can be gone after Premiership players to play for the British and Irish Lions against Japan next June.

He cautioned that the apparatus will impact his choice for the three Tests in South Africa. Talking from New Zealand as the Lions dispatched their shirt for the visit, Gatland said readiness is in front of the timetable. 

Regarding the circumstance around Covid-19, he said “we’re simply proceeding to figure all that will be 100% fine in the following eight months”.However demanded, “you must have some alternative courses of action”.  

Warren Gatland warns Japan warm-up will influence British and Irish Lions Test selection
Warren Gatland warns Japan warm-up will influence British and Irish Lions Test selection

British Irish Lions vs Japan:

A week ago the Lions affirmed a Test against Japan at Murrayfield on June 26, which is the very day of the Premiership Final.  As the Lions’ apparatus is outside World Rugby’s Test window, no Premiership players (Englishmen, yet additionally any semblance of Exeter’s Stuart Hogg and Northampton’s Dan Biggar) are as of now accessible – regardless of only two groups playing in the last.

Gatland is cheerful that the circumstance can be settled. Even though conceded that Premiership Rugby “hasn’t generally been the least demanding to manage” and that the circumstance is “somewhat like Brexit”.

Gatland stated Conceivably if England has an extraordinary Six Nations. You could contend that a third to a large portion of the crew might be absent for that Japan week. Yet additionally, for a camp in Wales we’re arranging the prior week. That would be troublesome.

Given how restricted the time is for arrangement, I can reveal to you we will be taking the best group we can, the best players. In any case, the hard truth is that I simply trust it doesn’t affect any players or determinations. You end up with a 50/50 approach a player.

Warren Gatland warns Japan warm-up will influence British and Irish Lions Test selection

A player can be there for seven days’ camp in Wales. He can be there for the seven days’ groundwork for the Japan game. This may get approval against somebody who has sadly not been accessible until just a single week before the main match in South Africa. 

“It’s a test right now and I simply trust that some sound judgment will win in exchanges.”

Canterbury:

Warren Gatland was talking in the interest of Canterbury. He was at the dispatch of the British and Irish Lions Pro shirt accessible at Canterbury.com.

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Lions tour is something surreal, for both players and fans

The British and Lions Tour holds a special place in the heart of world rugby it harkens back to what the game was, and reveals what it has become, and encompasses the glory, the camaraderie, and fraternity that separates the sport from all others. Rugby fans can book British lions 2021 tickets on our website at exclusively discounted prices.

For many players, honored enough to play against the combined might of the four home nations, it is the nadir of their careers, whether it be at provincial or Test level. For many supporters, it is a 12-year long wait to build new memories and remember fondly the year that the Lions returned to once again wrestle pride and supremacy away from the Springboks.

Lions tour is something surreal, for both players and fans
Lions tour is something surreal, for both players and fans

That was the decree of Springbok legend John Smit on Thursday when the series sponsor was revealed to be Castle Lager for next year’s tour at FNB Stadium, which will host the first Test between the two combatants on July 24 next year.

Said the former captain of the Boks, who led the national team in the hardcore 2009 series: “One of the best experiences, and the best stories I have ever told, was my experience playing for the Sharks against the British and Irish Lions in Durban.”

“I think it was my second first-class game, I was 19-years-old,” Smit continued, “and to be able to go on 12 years later and to experience it full on was a privilege. The youngsters who get that opportunity, even if I ever only played the Lions in 97, I would have held onto that thing. I still have that jersey.

“It is just something that you can’t mimic anywhere else and that experience is what will get the youngsters (next year) super hungry to fight for that green and gold jersey and, hopefully, hold onto it.”

It was a sentiment shared by fellow Bok legend Beast Mtwarira and 2019 World Rugby player of the year Pieter-Steph du Toit, who will no doubt be involved in 2021. Beast was a newfangled Springbok in 2009, having made his debut for the Boks a year earlier against Wales, and the 2019 World Cup winner recalled his Lions experience fondly with a smile and a chuckle.

Lions tour is something surreal, for both players and fans
Lions tour is something surreal, for both players and fans

“I think it is surreal (playing against the Lions), it certainly was for me to be a part of that (2000) team,” said Beast in his trademark baritone. “It comes around every 12 years, so not a lot of players get the opportunity to play against the Lions …

“The Lions tour was massive for me. To rub shoulders with the likes of Juan (Smith) and Bakkies (Botha) and Victor (Matfield), guys who had won the World Cup in 2007, was just a huge honor. The atmosphere at a Lions game is just incredible; it is nothing like you have ever seen.”

“I was raring to go with the energy and excitement,” Beast continued later of the 2009 Test series. “My advice to the young guys would be, a part of it is to just enjoy the occasion, take it for what it is, because it is a huge honor. Guys that have won the world cup, haven’t had the chance to face the Lions, so you have to embrace it for what it is and just go out there and play your best rugby.”

For PSTD, if he is fit and remains so, it will be another feather in the 28-year-old’s cap. The 2019 World Cup winner was 17-years-old when John Smit and Co rectified the disastrous defeat of 1997 12 years later, and when asked about his feelings around the upcoming tour, it sparked a joyous memory of sibling rivalry and love.

“All three games, I, my parents and my brothers watched at our house and I always say if you watch a Springbok game at our house, you don’t want to be a supporter there because it is just crazy there.

Lions tour is something surreal, for both players and fans
Lions tour is something surreal, for both players and fans

“Everything gets duplicated there …

“For instance, I remember when Heinrich Brussow (in 2009) just picked up one of the players as a bag of potatoes and threw him off the field, and then, the same thing happened in our living room. So, after the game, we always went to play and always dreamt about playing for the Boks and against the Lions.”

Good times, great memories, and next year a new batch, through victory or defeat, are sure to be made anew.

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South Africa Rugby eyes British lions 2021 home Tests

South Africa Rugby president Mark Alexander has confirmed they are in discussion with World Rugby to gain permission to arrange at least three Tests before the Boks play the Lions next year. Rugby fans can book British lions 2021 tickets on our website at exclusively discounted prices.

The Springboks are scheduled to play a three-Test series against the British & Irish Lions between 24 July and 7 August next year.

South Africa Rugby eyes British lions 2021 home Tests
South Africa Rugby eyes British lions 2021 home Tests

However, as it stands, the world champions are set to head into the series without any international action since the 2019 World Cup final. This after the Covid-19 pandemic led to the Boks not playing any games in 2020.

But Alexander says that SA Rugby is looking into the possibility of organizing a few Tests in preparation for the Lions series.

‘We are looking at that, we are busy with that,’ he said. ‘We are looking at having a couple of games. We will confirm that once we have confirmed with World Rugby that we can have games.

‘You know, we can’t just organize a game with another country. We have to get permission from World Rugby and we are seeking permission to have at least three or four games before we play the series.’

South Africa Rugby eyes British lions 2021 home Tests

Alexander added that SA Rugby’s confident it’ll be granted permission because the 2021 rugby calendar is still under construction and a long way from being finalized.

‘The calendar is not finalized; we have only finalized the rugby calendar for this year. Next year’s calendar is still under discussion. One thing that is for sure is that it is still in July that we will be playing the British & Irish Lions series. That is confirmed. That is the only one confirmed for next year. World Rugby is still in discussion as to what is going to happen with the global calendar.

‘The way things are looking now. I think the calendar will remain the same for next year as well and we will probably look at changing the calendar in 2022 – to accommodate the Pro Rugby League, the Currie Cup, Inbound and Outbound Tours, and the Rugby Championship – but it is under discussion.’

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Castle Lager named as title partner of British lions 2021 series

South Africa Rugby and the British & Irish Lions have announced that Castle Lager has agreed to become the official title partner of the 2021 Tour of South Africa.

The Castle Lager Lions Series kicks off on Saturday, 3 July 2021 with the Lions visiting some of the most impressive stadiums in world sport, culminating in three Test matches against Rugby World Cup-champions the Springboks. Rugby fans can book British lions 2021 tickets on our website at exclusively discounted prices.

The announcement comes in the wake of the massive interest in the Castle Lager Lions Series from South African rugby supporters. More than 324,000 applications for tickets were made, with tickets for the three-Test matches being massively oversubscribed.

Castle Lager named as title partner of   British lions 2021 series
Castle Lager named as title partner of British lions 2021 series

 ‘This represents a hat-trick for our friends at South African Breweries,’ SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux said. ‘They have now been the series partner for all three British & Irish Lions tours to South Africa in the professional era: first under the Lion brand in 1997 and now with Castle Lager for the 2009 and 2021 tours.

‘It’s a tribute both to their enduring support for South African rugby but also to the appeal of the sport and a tour by the British & Irish Lions.

‘The first two professional series to South Africa were epic events that entranced the rugby nation. I am sure next year’s edition will be the same.’

Today’s announcement coincides with the launch of the Castle Lions Series dedicated website, www.lionsseries.com, and social channels, where rugby supporters can keep up to date with all the latest Tour news, read and watch exclusive content, as well as enter competitions to win merchandise.

The Castle Lager Lions Series begins on Saturday, 3 July 2021 when the Lions face the Stormers in Cape Town. Three weeks later the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg will host the first Test – a venue that previously hosted the 2010 Fifa World Cup Final.

The second Test follows on Saturday, 31 July at the Cape Town Stadium – the first Lions Test in the Mother City since 1997 – before the British and Irish tourists return to Gauteng for the final Test on Saturday, 7 August at Emirates Airline Park, the storied venue of the 1995 Rugby World Cup final.

The Lions have toured South Africa on 13 previous occasions, with the first Tour taking place in 1891. In that time, the Lions have won four-Test series, lost eight with one drawn. Their overall record against the Springboks is played 46, won 17, lost 23, and drawn six.

Castle Lager named as title partner of British lions 2021 series

As part of the agreement, Castle Lager will receive a comprehensive range of in-stadia rights, including ticketing, hospitality, and pouring, as well as kit-branding rights, and access to Springbok and Lions players and coaches. The deal also brings a newly created, Castle Lager-branded tour series logo for use across a wide range of broadcasting, merchandising, digital, and social media platforms.

Castle Lager Lions Series logo explained:

  • The four elements at the top of the symbol represent the four home unions that make up the British & Irish Lions, set above a single element to represent South Africa.
  • The two elements resolve into a single symbol – a dynamic perspective of a rugby ball.
  • The combined colors from the flag of South Africa and Lion’s red flow through the elements as a symbol of unity Negative space between the four top elements form an abstract shape of a person wrapping their arms around the symbol, representing friendship and community.

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British Lions tour: Jones breaks record and trio cap milestones with scores

Super Saturday delivered on its promise of an exhilarating conclusion to the Six Nations, with British & Irish Lions stars involved throughout.

After 2018 Grand Slam champions Ireland had seen off winless Italy 50-17 on the Championship’s return last weekend, Andy Farrell’s men headed into the final round of games with their destiny in their own hands. Rugby fans can book British lions 2021 tickets on our website at exclusively discounted prices.

While waiting for their decisive fixture against France in Paris, Ireland saw Scotland stun defending Grand Slam winners Wales 14-10 in Llanelli, before Eddie Jones’ England turned up the heat on the Emerald Isle with a bonus-point 34-5 triumph in Rome.

And ultimately the trophy was handed to the Red Rose for the first time since 2017, with the men in green falling 35-27 to an impressive Les Bleus side, whose victory saw them miss out on a first title for a decade on points difference.

Among the ranging fortunes for the plethora of Lions stars on show throughout the three tantalizing showdowns, there were records broken, milestone moments, and individual pieces of brilliance to savor.

AWJ becomes most-capped international 

British Lions tour: Jones breaks record and trio cap milestones with scores
British Lions tour: Jones breaks record and trio cap milestones with scores

Wales’ hopes of ending a turgid campaign came unstuck as they were edged by Gregor Townsend’s Scotland at Parc y Scarlets  the visitors’ first win on Welsh soil since 2002.

Finn Russell who featured as part of the squad on the Lions’ 2017 Tour to New Zealand – kicked the visitors in front on his return at fly-half, but Wales prop Rhys Carre punished a Scotland mistake at their lineout to help his team to a slender 7-6 lead at half-time.

The hosts added three more points to their tally after the break thanks to the boot of four-time Lions capped Leigh Halfpenny, but a try from replacement hooker Stuart McInally and a last-gasp penalty from skipper Stuart Hogg a veteran of two Lions Tours handed Scotland the spoils.

Despite enduring their fourth successive defeat of the Championship there was some cause for celebration in the Welsh camp as captain Alun Wyn Jones played his 140th game for Wales, together with his nine Lions appearances making him rugby’s most-capped international ahead of Richie McCaw.

Youngs at the double on century appearance 

England knew they could pile all the pressure on Ireland’s shoulders with a bonus-point win in Italy, and Ben Youngs got the away side off to a flying start with a fifth-minute score on his 100th appearance for his country.

British Lions tour: Jones breaks record and trio cap milestones with scores
British Lions tour: Jones breaks record and trio cap milestones with scores

The 2013 Lion made it a night to remember with England’s second try moments into the second half after Jake Polledri had got Italy on the board in the 18th minute when Carlo Canna reacted quickest to Kyle Sinckler’s handling error and fed the Gloucester No.8 to dot down.

Jamie George a 2017 Tour star and he making his 50th England appearance powered over for England’s third after Lions teammate Maro Itoje claimed the ball in a lineout to spearhead the fruitful maul.

Tom Curry notched the all-important bonus-point score after exposing a mistake in the Italian defensive line and skipping down the left flank before Henry Slade crossed to up England’s point’s difference late on.

Ireland lose but Healy makes history 

Going into the Stade de France requiring a seven-point win to clinch the title, Ireland were dealt an early blow when France’s Antoine Dupont crossed in the seventh minute, although full-back Anthony Bouthier was soon sent to the sin-bin for deliberately knocking Johnny Sexton’s grubber kick into touch.

British Lions tour: Jones breaks record and trio cap milestones with scores
British Lions tour: Jones breaks record and trio cap milestones with scores

The away side duly responded and Cian Healy – a member of the 2013 Tour squad – bulldozed over on his 100th Test appearance, before the captain and six-time Test Lion Sexton kicked Ireland in front.

But France was soon awarded a penalty try when Caelan Doris tackled Francois Cros off the ball, and they stretched their lead at the start of the second half through a Romain Ntamack try.

Robbie Henshaw and Jacob Stockdale both went over in between Virimi Vakatawa’s bonus-point score for the hosts, but it wasn’t enough to topple Fabien Galthié’s charges that leapfrogged Ireland in the overall standings to finish second.

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Difficult for Rob Howley to be British Lions coach – Warren Gatland

Warren Gatland admits it will be difficult to include Rob Howley in his British and Irish Lions coaching team after his former Wales assistant’s suspension for betting breaches.

Howley was banned for 18 months nine of them suspended in 2019 for betting on matches, including Wales games. Rugby fans can book British lions 2021 tickets on our website at exclusively discounted prices.

He left Wales’ 2019 World Cup campaign as a result and returned to rugby last month as Canada assistant coach.

Difficult for Rob Howley to be British Lions coach - Warren Gatland
Difficult for Rob Howley to be British Lions coach – Warren Gatland

“I’m delighted for him he’s been appointed with Canada,” said Gatland.

“We were great mates and I’ve got a huge amount of respect for him as a coach.

“The last thing you want is people bringing up the past and taking away from what your preparation and focus is for a Lions tour.

“That makes it a little bit difficult because it’s the last thing I and someone like Rob would want to have happen.”

As well as being Gatland’s attack coach throughout his 12 years as Wales boss, Howley also fulfilled that role on the past two Lions tours.

Gatland was head coach on both occasions – the victorious 2013 tour of Australia and the 2017 drawn series in New Zealand – and the New Zealander will be in charge for next summer’s trip to South Africa.

Howley, who was also attack coach under Sir Ian McGeechan in South Africa in 2009, would have been in a strong position to make a fourth Lions tour as a coach.

However, Gatland’s comments seem to suggest that would now be unlikely for the former Wales scrum-half, who played for the Lions on two tours in 1997 and 2001.

In the wake of his ban from the sport after he had placed 363 bets on 1,163 matches over four years, Howley apologised for the breaches as he “battled demons” in the wake of his sister’s death.

Difficult for Rob Howley to be British Lions coach – Warren Gatland

He had been due to leave his role as Wales assistant coach after the 2019 World Cup and was linked with coaching Italy before the betting breaches were revealed.

Since being eligible to return to rugby, Howley was linked with a return to one of his former clubs, Wasps, before his appointment with Canada, a role he will combine with being a consultant for the Toronto Arrows.

“I think it’s great for him he’s back in the game and he gets a chance to get out of the UK and re-establish himself with Canada until the next World Cup,” Gatland added.

“He’s an outstanding coach, understands the mistakes he’s made, and hopefully he does really well.”

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British lions tour: Gatland predicts Boks will be underdone

Warren Gatland says the decision to withdraw the Boks from the Rugby Championship could leave them ‘underdone’ for the incoming British & Irish Lions tour next year.

SA Rugby recently decided against having the Springboks participate in this year’s revised Rugby Championship, which will be held in Australia, and Gatland believes it is a risky call.

‘It could end up being 20 months between their last game and the first Lions Test,’ Gatland told the BBC.

‘So, they may be underdone, and it will be disappointing from my perspective because I won’t get a chance maybe to see them play.’

British lions tour: Gatland predicts Boks will be underdone
British lions tour: Gatland predicts Boks will be underdone

Gatland will lead the Lions for a third time on their tour of South Africa. In a condensed tour, starting on 3 July 2021, the Lions will play three Tests against the Springboks as part of an eight-match schedule.

The 57-year-old New Zealander sympathized with South Africa’s director of rugby, Rassie Erasmus.

‘Those are the kind of the times we are in at the moment. I can understand from Rassie’s point of view, they hadn’t had a lot of domestic rugby, so they felt they were going down to Australia being undercooked and understandably not wanting to expose them.

‘They talked about injury risk, I am not too sure that was the case, but that’s their prerogative and they felt they needed more rugby.

‘But what they are going to do – internally or externally – ahead of the Lions, I am not too sure, so it is a bit of a wait and sees.’

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