Planet Rugby

The British & Irish Lions


RWC influenced Farrell appointment

25th October 2013 09:11


Graham Rowntree Andy Farrell Warren Gatland British and Irish Lions training 2013

Information 'sharing': Andy Farrell and Warren Gatland

British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland admits learning about his World Cup opponents was key to his taking Andy Farrell on tour.

Welsh coach Gatland raised a few eyebrows when he opted to bring Farrell, a member of England's coaching team, Down Under rather than his Wales assistant Shaun Edwards.

But the Kiwi revealed on Thursday that gaining a better understanding of 2015 World Cup rivals England's match preparation did play a part in his decision.

"I made [the decision], a little bit selfishly, it was a chance for me to bring in someone who I hadn't worked with in the past, in terms of Andy Farrell, who was well regarded by anyone who I spoke to," Gatland told the Western Mail.

"It doesn't take away from the respect I have for Shaun as a coach, but it was good from that aspect to work with somebody else. I have a huge amount of respect and regard for Shaun.

"There was, I suppose, a part of me looking long term - knowing that Andy could do a good job - but also, if you are thinking you know what the World Cup pool is and knowing that we were going to have England in our pool, potentially it gives me a little bit of an insight into England and their preparations.

"That's a little bit of the cutting side of me. You don't admit those things and that's probably more of a reflective decision, saying what happens afterwards.

"There was no doubt that by us going on the Lions, we have given away, from a coaching set up and backroom staff, a huge amount of information, so it's always nice to get something back as well.

"It was tough, but the thing about Shaun is that he has been a professional sportsman since he was 17 and at times, although he doesn't always agree, he respects that decisions need to be made.

"He texted me whilst I was on tour and wished me good luck and we have met up a few times since. I am confident that that relationship will continue to flourish."