Gatland happy to be home

He grew up in Hamilton where the Lions face the Chiefs this week

BY Simon Maguire 16:09 Sunday 18 June 2017, 16:09 18 Jun 2017

Head coach Warren Gatland. Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

British And Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland is relishing the opportunity to manage his team against the Waikato Chiefs this week.

Gatland was born and spent his formative years in Waikato, on New Zealand's north island. He coached the provincial team, and the Super Rugby side, the Waikato Chiefs, for a number of years.

"If you cut me open I'd probably bleed red, yellow and black," he said, adding: "I'm pretty proud of my roots and it's a great place to grow up. I went to school here and played for Waikato, and what I love about Waikato people is that they're incredibly loyal.

"The amount of support that I've had personally has just been amazing and I experienced that in the World Cup here in 2011, the amount of Waikato people who supported Wales when we played here against Fiji and Samoa was incredible.

"It's nice to be back and catch up with some friends. The unfortunate thing is we are here for such a short time but I'm really looking forward to what should be a great occasion on Tuesday night for what should be a great atmosphere in a proper rugby ground. It's close, the fans get close to it, it's normally a great place to play."

The Lions face the Waikato Chiefs on Tuesday ahead of the first test against New Zealand at the weekend. 

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