Warren Gatland: 'British & Irish Lions places at stake in Cardiff'

Wales head coach Warren Gatland after a match on November 24, 2012
© PA Photos
Warren Gatland says that Wales's clash with England in the Six Nations could decide a number of his selections for the British & Irish Lions squad.

British & Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland has revealed that there are places in his squad up for grabs when Wales host England in the Six Nations showdown on Saturday.

The Red Rose can secure their first Grand Slam since 2003 with a victory at the Millennium Stadium, while the Dragons can retain their title should they win by eight points or more.

The stakes for the match have been raised even higher after Gatland claimed that still a third of the places in his 37-man squad are yet to be taken.

"For me, as Lions coach, it is really exciting this weekend that it has come down to a 'final'," Gatland told The Telegraph. "It is a situation that you want to see players in, under pressure, and it is what we are going to face in Australia.

"It is not a 'trial' game but it is a trial game, that's how it has worked out. You are not going to select the Lions [squad] just on Wales v England but for some players in some positions there are key match-ups that could weigh up the decision one way or another. Just down to one game.

"So there shouldn't be any lack of motivation. I know if I was playing I would be saying I would be thinking: 'I have a chance to get myself on the plane. I am not leaving anything in the tank.'"

Gatland stepped down from coaching Wales during the championship in order to concentrate on his Lions duties.

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