Warren Gatland: 'English players face greater media scrutiny'

Warren Gatland
© PA Photos
Warren Gatland expects that an England-heavy Lions team would face increased scrutiny in the media.

British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland has said that England's rugby players face greater scrutiny in the media than those from the other British nations.

The British and Irish Lions coach is likely to pick a number of English players for the tour later this year, with England the only unbeaten side in the Six Nations.

Gatland told the Evening Standard: "If they do well in the Six Nations, there will be a reasonable contingent of English players. But that brings a certain element of, how do I say it, other pressures that come with selecting a lot of English players.

"[They are] not always the most popular with other countries because of the history. People like having a pop at them. We all know what happened with England at the World Cup and the circus that was created.

"I've just got to be aware of the possibilities that, if there are a number of English players on the tour, the same sort of things could be instigated, through stings through the media or set-ups trying to create controversy."

England were criticised in the media at the 2011 World Cup, after several players were photographed in a bar in Queenstown after their win against Argentina, before spending a rest day bungee jumping.

The tour is due to take place during June and July.

Adam Jones
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