Wynne Gray is a Herald columnist

Rugby: Lions ready to turn on the style, says coach

Lions coach Lions coach Warren Gatland has promised his side will deliver an entertaining brand of rugby in their bid to overturn the Wallabies.

A common public slant is that the Lions' recipe will be to batter the Wallabies with their pack and then pummel them with their gargantuan backline.

However, Gatland was adamant his group would offer a variety of threats when they landed in Australia next month for their three-test series.

"If we are going to beat the Wallabies it won't be by just kicking or sticking the ball up our jumpers," he told the Herald.

"We are going out there to play rugby."

Players not involved in matches in Europe have gathered in Wales and Ireland this week to work on plans to repeat the 75 per cent winning record the Lions have in Australia.

They lost the most recent series in 2001 and in 1930 but have won their six other tours and 15 of their 20 tests.

Gatland settled on flanker Sam Warburton to captain the tourists as the fourth Welshman to achieve that honour.

He is just 24 but had been leading Wales for several years and was the most successful captain in the Northern Hemisphere.

"He is a very modern professional and is a very special individual in the way he conducts himself," Gatland said.

"He is not a big talker, he does not talk for the sake of it but he certainly sets the tone."

Warburton was learning, like other captains Richie McCaw and David Pocock who are also flankers, how to engage with referees without upsetting their authority.

The Lions would also have to adapt. They wanted to play a broad brand of rugby but would face variable conditions from the cool of nights in Canberra to the humidity in Brisbane and different conditions in Sydney.

Gatland had only tapped strongly into the Super 15 in the last month but will speak to some coaches to get their feedback on the Australian sides.

"I did not see a lot of weaknesses when I watched some of the games," he said.

- NZ Herald

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