Criticism of Gatland visit makes headlines

REPORTS of the hostile response to British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland’s visit have spread across the globe.

Warren Gatland (29416229)
Warren Gatland (29416229)

Mr Gatland visited on the weekend as he checked out the island as a possible location for a training camp for the famous touring side ahead of the series in South Africa.

The States has defended the trip in the face of criticism that he was allowed to visit when islanders have been following border restrictions and quarantine requirements because of Covid-19.

On Wednesday it was confirmed that Civil Contingencies Authority chairman Peter Ferbrache, States chief executive Paul Whitfield and director of Public Health Dr Nicola Brink all met with him at Footes Lane for sandwiches and Mr Whitfield was also present at an evening meal.

The New Zealand Herald reported the initial story under the headline ‘Guernsey islanders livid over special treatment given to British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland’.

In the piece it was suggested that ‘Lions coach Warren Gatland has caused uproar after he was given special dispensation to visit Guernsey, where he wants to set up a rugby camp’.

The Herald has the largest circulation of any newspaper in New Zealand, mainly in Auckland, and across print and online reaches 869,000 people.

Gatland is from Hamilton, New Zealand, and has coached in his homeland as well as Ireland, England and Wales.

He won four Six Nations titles with Wales and has twice led the Lions on tours of Australia and New Zealand.

Wales Online reported his visit under the headline ‘Warren Gatland under fire after Guernsey visit’.

‘The Lions coach has been in Guernsey assessing a potential training venue, but some of the locals aren’t happy,’ it said.

The Times carried the story, saying that ‘Officials defend Warren Gatland’s visit to Guernsey’. That paper has suggested the Lions could base themselves in Jersey and visit Guernsey for three days.

Website ran with ‘A smack in the mouth’: Warren Gatland’s Lions tour recce to Guernsey wasn’t universally popular with locals’.

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