Gatland blanks the glorious 1971 Lions saying modern players aren't interested in history

Phil Vickery on the charge as England beat the 2003 All Blacks - beyond that is a no-go area for Lions coach Warren Gatland. Photo / Photosport
Phil Vickery on the charge as England beat the 2003 All Blacks - beyond that is a no-go area for Lions coach Warren Gatland. Photo / Photosport

Warren Gatland has written off the famous 1971 Lions as being completely irrelevant to the squad he is taking to New Zealand.

The Carwyn James-coached, John Dawes-captained '71 team are the only Lions to taste series victory in New Zealand. But in a cold assessment of historical influences, Gatland said modern players are oblivious to anything from that far back.

But the 2017 coach's statute of limitations might allow some input from players in the English side which beat the All Blacks in Wellington and won the World Cup in 1973.

"I wouldn't go as far back as 1971. The thing about modern day players is that they're told about the past but it doesn't have any bearing or significance," the former non-test All Black told WalesOnline.

"Players are about the here and now, so you have to be careful how far back you go because they're just not interested. That's the way it is.

"There are a couple of people who we may involve at some stage. To me what was quite significant was England beating the All Blacks in 2003 before they won the World Cup.

"England were a better team in 2002 than they were in 2003. At one stage they were down to 13 men but repelled the All Blacks at a scrum close to the line.

"In the past we used players from 1971 and 1974 but it went over the players' heads."

- NZ Herald

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