British & Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland has suggested a series decider against the All Blacks before their tour to South Africa in 2021.
Gatland was head coach of the Lions when they drew their three-Test series against the All Blacks in 2017 after the two sides played out to a 15-15 stalemate in the third Test in Auckland.
At the time, players from both sides were disappointed that there was no winner of the series.
Speaking to New Zealand’s Sky Sports, Gatland – who will coach the Lions for the third time in 2021 – suggested a one-off Test against the All Blacks next year.
He said the Test could generate some much-needed revenue, as rugby continues to buckle under the financial pressure of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has halted leagues around the world.
‘Is it something the All Blacks could do, go up there and we could do a bit of a decider before we go off to South Africa at the end of June next year?’ he asked.
‘Potentially it’s a chance to make £4-5 million to put some money back into the coffers that we’re going to need.’
Gatland has been coaching the Chiefs in the 2020 Vodacom Super Rugby season after returning to New Zealand following the end of his tenure as Wales head coach.
He said that he was impressed by the skills of players in the southern hemisphere, but added that top-level northern players tended to be older and more mature than their southern counterparts.
‘They haven’t got the same ability or natural instinct in terms of catching or passing, but technically they’re very good and they have to be,’ he said.
The Lions begin their tour of South Africa with a fixture against the Stormers on 3 July at Cape Town Stadium. Their first Test against the Springboks is scheduled for 24 July at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg.
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