As British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland quietly compiles his squad wish list ahead of the summer tour of New Zealand, Lions bosses have been addressing logistical ‘what if’ scenarios, up to and including the potential for earthquakes while on tour.
The Lions embark on a ten-match tour in June and following a number of high profile earthquakes in New Zealand in recent years, it is being reported by the Telegraph that bosses have already modified their initial plans by changing their hotel arrangements while in Wellington.
According to Lions chief executive John Feehan, safety is paramount for the tourists.
“We had to move from where we thought we were going to stay in Wellington because we were not happy that the original venue would have been safe enough.
“It would have been safe enough by the time we got there – but that is in the absence of another earthquake. We have moved to a venue where we know the building has been built with earthquakes in mind.”
To the cynical mind you might think Feehan is taking an overly cautious approach to the summer tour but his comments come just as the Cantebury region of New Zealand was struck with multiple quakes on Thursday, including a magnitude 5.2 tremor, as revealed by Rugby Heaven.
“We look at every issue or problem that may arise and have a plan.
“The obvious issue is an earthquake and that is something we have to factor in.
“It is just a fact of life in an earthquake zone. If there is another bad earthquake in Christchurch, we could move to a different venue. It is an act of God so there is nothing you can do about it, but you have to have some sort of plan.”
The Lions take on the Crusaders in Christchurch on June 10th, while facing the Hurricanes in Wellington. The latter location is also the site of the second test with the All Blacks and with both areas having endured the harrows of earthquakes in recent times, it seems both an intelligent and obvious decision to at least have some disaster planning in place.
Gary Brennan, Pundit Arena
On this week’s podcast we talk to Ian McKinley, Jacques Burger and Daniel Killick of The Attacking Scrum.