Gatland plans nightly choir practice for Lions squad

Warren Gatland will demand that his British and Irish Lions players are on song in more ways than one when they meet up for this year's tour to New Zealand, lining up nightly choir practice ahead of the three-Test series.

The Lions head to the southern hemisphere in late May ahead of their opening tour fixture against the New Zealand Barbarians on June 3.

Kiwi Gatland hopes to organise a traditional welcome for his players in his homeland, but acknowledges the Lions' routine may require some fine-tuning.

"One of the things we've got to do that's going to be challenging for the first week or so is that we're looking at having a welcome," he told the Flats and Shanks podcast.

"We want to do it properly, so we'll have someone hopefully respond in English - probably John Spencer the manager - I'd like to get a Welsh speaker respond in Welsh, if someone speaks Irish as well, and maybe Gaelic if there's anyone from Scotland who can speak it.

"The issue is that every time you speak you've got to sing. You've got to respond in song.

"So probably the first couple of weeks of the squad being together, I'm going to put some songs together and we'll be having choir practice every night.

"Maybe that's part of bringing the squad together."

And the repertoire of the Lions choir?

"It won't be my decision, it'll be the players' decision what the songs could be," he added.

"Maybe from an English point of view, Jerusalem is pretty universal, and maybe Fields of Athenry from an Irish perspective.

"Calon Lan from Wales if you want a Welsh aspect to it, and Scotland... I don't know, maybe The Proclaimers!"

The opening Test against the All Blacks takes place in Auckland on June 24, ahead of a second in Wellington on July 1 and a return to Auckland a week later.

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