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Lions will have 1am curfew: Gatland

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 23/04/2017 Duncan Bech

Wales's rugby team Head Coach Warren Gatland © AP Photo/Alastair Grant Wales's rugby team Head Coach Warren Gatland Warren Gatland expects that his British and Irish Lions players will observe a self-imposed 1am curfew in New Zealand but will allow them to continue drinking in the hotel bar upon their return.

The Lions visit Queenstown during the build-up to the final Test against the All Blacks knowing that six years earlier it was the setting for one of the most notorious episodes in English rugby history.

Members of Martin Johnson's 2011 World Cup squad spent an alcoholic-fuelled night on the town, attending a well-publicised dwarf-tossing competition, in the nadir to a tournament marred by poor behaviour.

It has brought the issue of player conduct into sharp focus and Gatland will allow his tourists to self-police along the lines of Wales' policy at the same tournament.

"Guys might be out at 3 or 4am. They might be drinking water or orange juice, but it's the perception of being out until that time. That's what creates the controversy with the way that social media is now," Gatland said.

"It won't be my call but I think the players might say they can go out for a couple of hours and no-one is going to mind them having a couple of beers.

"With Wales at the 2011 World Cup we got back to the hotel after a night game at about 11 and we just said to the players you can go out for a few hours but be back at the hotel by 1am.

"The bar will still be open if you want to have a few drinks in the bar and I just think we will probably say that to the Lions.

"You have got to feel sorry for the English in 2011. Other teams did the same things and some very well known individuals got up to some stuff that wasn't reported so you have got to feel a little bit. But you have got to be right."

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