Bryn Gatland tops father Warren at Lions' opening match
WHANGAREI, New Zealand (AP) With two members of the Gatland family on opposite sides in the tour-opener between the British and Irish Lions and the Provincial Barbarians on Saturday, only one of them was likely to be smiling at the end.
But few expected it would be Bryn Gatland - flyhalf for the Provincial Barbarians - while his father, Lions coach Warren Gatland, was wearing the scowl.
The Lions were expected to win the first and easiest match of their 10-match tour of New Zealand in a canter against a Provincial Barbarians team made up of semi-professionals. North Harbour flyhalf Bryn Gatland was one of only a few players with an established reputation.
Instead, the Provincial Barbarians led the Lions 7-3 at halftime and often showed more ambition than the tourists before succumbing 13-7.
The Lions produced one of their worst performances in New Zealand and Warren Gatland knows the tour becomes immeasurably harder from now on.
The tourists face their first match against a Super Rugby side on Wednesday, playing the Auckland-based Blues.
The Provincial Barbarians players, hastily assembled and given only a week to prepare, turned in a performance of huge courage and skill to outshine their vaunted opponents. Bryn Gatland was at the heart of that effort, putting in the kick that led to the Barbarians' try and kicking the conversion while also shining in numerous other attacking forays and in defense.
While a loss by 40 or 50 points might have been considered an acceptable effort, the Provincial Barbarians fully stretched the Lions, ended the match on attack and came close to pulling off a huge rugby upset.
''We got up this morning and we remembered what we were like as kids, looking at games like this,'' Bryn Gatland said. ''We said we'll never get this chance again.
''There will be a 6-year-old kid sitting up in that grandstand wanting to be one of us one day. We took that chance and I think we played great. We didn't get the win and result but we earned some respect I think.''