VIDEO: Gatland happy to keep Boks guessing
South African coach Jacques Nienaber may have four more matches to analyse the opposition, but he will be kept in the dark about the make-up of their team.
British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland said he wants the players to feel that everyone has an opportunity right up until the week of the first Test – July 24.
That means the world champion Springboks will not get an early indication of who they are likely to face.
Gatland said they are in a “great selection position” because they have so much competition in the squad.
“So many players are already putting their hands up,” Gatland told a virtual media briefing, after naming the team to tackle the Sharks in a midweek game at Ellis ark on Wednesday.
“We are starting to talk and joke amongst the staff about the makeup of the Test side and how that will look.
“Hopefully they will continue to make our job really tough.”
The B&I Lions coach suggested they will still be having some “long discussions” in the weeks to come.
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“Wednesday [against the Sharks] is another chance for us to have a look at a few more combinations,” he added.
Gatland described the midweek team as an ” exciting mixture” and one that they hope will offer something a bit different.
“There is a lot of competition,” the B&I Lions coach said.
” If you look at all positions, particularly the back three, the competition is huge.
“As we get a bit closer [to the Test series] we will start looking at potential combinations, [but] not putting out a team that we think will play in the first Test against South Africa.
“There will definitely be some mix-and-matching.
“You do not want to show your hand too early.”