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Rugby sortie livens up Phoenix training

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 13/01/2017

An international rugby sortie led by British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland has livened up Wellington Phoenix's Friday training session.

Gatland led a team of around a dozen officials on a reconnaissance mission to check out Westpac Stadium, one of seven venues which will host the Lions in their 10-match, three-Test tour which begins on June 3.

The Lions' mission provided a brief distraction for Phoenix as they prepared for Saturday's must-win A-League clash against Central Coast Mariners.

Co-coach Des Buckingham's tongue-in-cheek hopes of scoring some match tickets, however, proved futile.

"I've tried getting tickets myself but I'm struggling," he said.

"I've got plenty of friends and family back home that are coming out and for some reason think I'll be able to sort them tickets, but I'm struggling myself."

A Lions media spokeman said the 10-day reconnaissance trip began in Auckland last Saturday, and would conclude with trips to Christchurch and Dunedin.

It provided a range of team officials, headed by Gatland and director of operations Gerard Carmody, the chance to check out every aspect of the tour including game venues, hotels, training grounds and gyms.

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