Six Nations 2014: Lions selection would be different now - Gatland

Sam Warburton and Warren Gatland outside No 10 Downing St in 2013

RBS Six Nations: England v Wales

Venue:
Twickenham, London
Date:
Sunday, 9 March
Kick-off:
15:00 GMT
Coverage:
Live on BBC One, S4C, Radio Wales and Radio Cymru; live updates on the BBC Sport website

Warren Gatland says a 2014 British and Irish Lions team would have more English and Irish stars than the Wales-dominated 2013 side in Australia.

Ten Welshmen started the Lions' 41-16 decisive third Test win over Australia.

Wales have 14 Lions in Sunday's Six Nations squad against England, who are expected to have one - Owen Farrell.

"If you were picking a Lions team tomorrow it would be completely different to what we had 12 months ago," said Wales coach Gatland.

"And I think the balance would be fairly even between the three countries [Wales, Ireland and England].

George North and Sam Warburton celebrate following their team's victory during the RBS Six Nations match

"Where there was probably a bit more Welsh players, I think you'd see more Irish players in the team and a few more English players and probably not quite as many Welsh players in that [Lions] squad.

"And that's the way that selections goes and changes."

Omitting Irish icon Brian O'Driscoll was Gatland's most controversial Lions selection on a tour led by Wales flanker Sam Warburton.

The debate over that later prompted Gatland to suggest a debate on quotas for future Lions selections.

Wales provided 16 British and Irish Lions in Australia in 2013, having won the 2012 and 2103 Six Nations titles.

In the final test down under in July, Ireland had three starters in wing Tommy Bowe, fly-half Jonathan Sexton and flanker Sean O'Brien while England provided prop Alex Corbisiero and lock Geoff Parling.

Gatland says when Wales beat Grand Slam-chasing England 30-3 to take the 2013 Six Nations title, they were inspired by having begun the tournament poorly and a desire to impress for Lions selection and deny their opponents a day of glory in Cardiff.

However, the New Zealander says England's 2014 title-chasers may now be more "desperate" ahead of the clash at Twickenham.

"A lot of [Wales] players were probably aware that it was almost a trial game in terms of the Lions selection and to win at home against England, who had a chance of winning the championship," said Gatland.

"So almost psychologically probably some of the Welsh players had a little bit more to play for and a bit more desperation.

"And maybe the tide's turned a little bit in terms of the English players being potentially a little bit more desperate.

"And because a lot of those Welsh players have had a lot of rugby in the last 18 months - they've had some big games and big occasions in terms of a [2012] Grand Slam, a [2013] Six Nations and a Lions tour - it's almost as if they're in the middle of having to get themselves up mentally.

"And we saw they weren't quite right or weren't quite there for the Irish game [Wales lost 26-3] and I was really happy with the way they responded against France.

"But again it's another big game for them on Sunday that they need to get up for."

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