- Dispute with Premiership Rugby over player release grows
- Poor form could also count against England players says Gatland
Warren Gatland has warned that British & Irish Lions hopefuls based in England face the prospect of missing out on the South Africa tour unless Premiership Rugby softens its stance in an escalating disagreement over player release. In a further blow to Eddie Jones’s England players, Gatland has said that their poor Six Nations form could also count against them.
The Lions are due to face Japan in a warm-up Test at Murrayfield on 26 June – the same day as the Premiership final and a week before their first tour match in South Africa. Gatland accepts those players involved in the Premiership final will not be available but he fears all English clubs will refuse to release their stars for the Japan fixture because it falls outside the official Test window – even those whose seasons have already finished.