Warren Gatland happy to play Twickenham ‘decider’ against All Blacks

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen chats with British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland after the third Test. Picture: David Davies/PA
New Zealand coach Steve Hansen chats with British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland after the third Test. Picture: David Davies/PA
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Warren Gatland has admitted he would relish a British and Irish Lions rematch with New Zealand at Twickenham in November.

The Lions held New Zealand 15-15 at Eden Park on Saturday to end the series one-all, with the tourists drawing just their second series in history.

The Barbarians are slated to face the All Blacks at Twickenham on November 4 and Gatland admitted the Lions would fancy stepping in instead to take on New Zealand in an unofficial fourth Test.

Gatland said of the suggestion: “That would be good wouldn’t it? You’ll have to ask PRL (Premiership Rugby Limited) if they’d release any of the players.”

England had already explored the possibility of pulling rank on the Barbarians to face New Zealand in that November 4 encounter but the RFU eventually had to give up that ghost.

The notion of the Lions stepping in for a rare home fixture would appear a long-shot at this stage.

GOOD TIMING: Owen Farrell kicks the late penalty that made it 15-15 at Eden Park, Picture: David Davies/PA

GOOD TIMING: Owen Farrell kicks the late penalty that made it 15-15 at Eden Park, Picture: David Davies/PA

But it would not be beyond the realms of possibility for the Barbarians to look to reassemble the 2017 Lions squad, just in their black and white colours and not the red of the famed tourists.

The 1973 Barbarians were effectively the 1971 Lions reunited in different colours, and that star-studded side dispatched the All Backs 23-11 in Cardiff in one of the classic all-time matches.

For any kind of repeat, or indeed for the Lions to take the fixture instead of the Barbarians, the English club governing body Premiership Rugby would have to agree to release their players to take part.

Owen Farrell, meanwhile, was left to reflect on the “weird” feeling of a drawn Test series after his late penalty denied world champions New Zealand victory.

I suppose it is a brilliant achievement. At the same time, it is never nice to be on the end of a draw.

Owen Farrell.

England star Farrell, who won the second Test in Wellington with a 77th-minute penalty, left it 60 seconds later this time, which leaves the 1971 Lions remaining as the only squad ever to have won a Test series on New Zealand soil.

“It’s a bit weird, really,” said Farrell, who booted four penalties, while wing Elliot Daly landed a long-range effort as the Lions fought back after conceding first-half tries to Ngani Laumape and Jordie Barrett.

“I suppose it is a brilliant achievement. At the same time, it is never nice to be on the end of a draw. It was another tough and proper Test match. It has been a brilliant series.”

On his levelling kick, Farrell added: “You know what the kick means, but I don’t think anything changes as a kicker. All you do is try to stick to hopefully what you have done well before that.”