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Gatland inspired by English winners in NZ

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 14/05/2017 By Duncan Bech
Warren Gatland © Getty Warren Gatland

Warren Gatland will seek inspiration from England's 2003 World Cup winners rather than tap into the memory banks of former British and Irish Lions in plotting New Zealand's downfall.

Experience has taught Gatland there is limited benefit to having previous Lions - even revered participants of the 1971 and 1974 tours - from addressing players in the professional era.

But the head coach does view England's remarkable 15-13 victory over the All Blacks in Wellington 14 years ago as a more relevant guide in advance of this summer's Test series, and could invite the likes of Martin Johnson or Lawrence Dallaglio to address the squad.

"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," Gatland said.

"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. That was significant.

"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.

"That's as far back as I'd go in terms of bringing in a few voices or people to talk about their experiences. In the past we used players from 1971 and 1974 but it went over the players' heads."

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