Warren Gatland wants his British and Irish Lions to face the strongest teams possible on their tour of Australia ahead of the Test series with the Wallabies.
Britain and Ireland’s elite haven’t won a series in the southern hemisphere for 16 years and Gatland and his fellow coaches are determined to do everything possible to reverse that trend this time around.
But while Gatland and co are currently stepping up their preparations for the tour Down Under, one thing completely out of their control is whether Wallaby boss Robbie
Deans will allow his star names to feature for their Super Rugby sides prior to the Test series.
Gatland, who served as forwards coach on the Lions tour to South Africa in 2009, knows what would suit the tourists after then-Springbok coach Peter de Villiers prevented his big names from featuring for their provinces against the Home Unions but only time will tell whether Deans sees the situation in the same light.
"From the experience that we learnt from four years ago, it's all about preparing for the Test matches so the harder the games are the better prepared we're going to be," said Gatland.
"If Robbie will let as many of the Wallabies play in those warm up games, that will help us prepare.
"We found in South Africa we were undefeated in the warm-up games but, because there wasn't a lot of the South African players playing, we weren't tested as well as we could have been."
Brumbies hooker Stephen Moore as the first player to reveal he wants to face the Lions on two fronts.
The 29-year-old said he hoped Deans would clear him play for the Canberra side despite the fact that the clash comes just four days before the opening Test in Brisbane.
As well as taking on the Wallabies in a three-match series in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney on June 22, 29 and July 6, the Lions will face all five Australian Super Rugby franchises and a combined New South Wales and Queensland Country outfit.
Gatland’s troops kick off their 10-game tour on June 1 when they travel to Hong Kong to face a Barbarians team coached by triple Lions tourist Dai Young.
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