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Gatland wants British and Irish Lions to be tested

British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland

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Article Published: Monday 7 January 2013|

British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland is counting on Wallabies coach Robbie Deans allowing his Test players to play in the warm up games that will take place ahead of the three-test-series.

Gatland's British and Irish Lions will warm up for the Test series with matches against four of the five Australian Super Rugby franchises before the opening Test on June the 22nd.

Gatland is currently touring Australia and scouting locations for the tour and said that he wants his Lions players to be "battle hardened" by the time the Tests came around which is why he wanted to play the Super Rugby franchises first.

The last thing that Gatland wants is for Australia's best players to be pulled from the warm up matches and for the Lions to run up cricket scores against weakened teams.

However for this not to happen Deans and the Australian Rugby Union will have to allow his players to in the warm up games.

In the last British and Irish Lions tour of Australia in 2001 the Lions scored 199 points while conceding just 16 in their opening two matches against Western Australia and Queensland Presidents XV teams.

"From the experience that we learnt from four years ago, it's all about preparing for the Test matches so the harder the games are the better prepared we're going to be," Gatland told the Sydney Morning Herald.

"If Robbie will let as many of the Wallabies play in those warm up games, that will help us prepare.

"We found in South Africa we were undefeated in the warm-up games but, because there wasn't a lot of the South African players playing, we weren't tested as well as we could have been."

Super Rugby teams in Australia take their four week break in June between June 9 and July 12 to allow for the Lions tour.

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