British & Irish Lions
Lions will have a social media protocol
ESPN Staff
April 30, 2013
New British & Irish Lions boss Warren Gatland alongside tour manager Andy Irvine, Ironmonger's Hall, London, September 4, 2012
Andy Irvine stands alongside coach Warren Gatland © Getty Images

British & Irish Lions tour manager Andy Irvine has revealed they are working on a social media protocol for the players to follow this summer.

Warren Gatland revealed his squad for the summer's tour to Hong Kong and Australia on Tuesday and Irvine said he was happy with the party's character. When questioned about the Lions' take on social media, Irvine said he is well aware of the potential pitfalls but they will not prevent the players from using Twitter.

"Social media these days you can make a mistake and it can be around the world in seconds. We do have a protocol we will be following," Irvine said. "It's not as if we are headmasters and telling kids what to do. There will be an opportunity for the players to look at it (protocol) and accept it and understand it.

"It takes years to build up a good reputation, but you can lose it in seconds. We are alert to that."

Irvine said he did not interfere in the squad selection and confirmed he was happy with the final 37-man selection. "In the modern game, selection is not just an art form, it's a science. The detail these guys (coaches) go into is really incredible," he added. "The only area I might have interfered in is if they had picked a controversial character that would have been a risk or a damage to the tour in a personality sense, or someone who was so high profile there would be a media circus following them.

"That never arose, and it didn't even look like it would this time. You have got to have a good set of tourists, a good set of guys, and I am very confident there is not one on the tour who comes even close to being a concern."

Irvine, who was Lions chairman in 2009, said the management will attempt to emulate certain aspects of the tour four years ago in South Africa, which was deemed to be a huge improvement on the 2005 tour of New Zealand.

"We thought long and hard in 2009 about how we were going to run the tour," said Irvine. "And we agreed we would change quite a few things from 2005, which included a much closer relationship with our supporter base. 2009 was a very happy tour on and off the field. The only thing I would change was the Test series loss.

"This time, we might tweak one or two things, but very little because I think that 2009 template was extremely successful. The players will be training as hard as ever, and it will be very disciplined and very methodical, but there has to be a time when you give them some down-time because physically and mentally it is very challenging.

"We want the players to enjoy themselves, because that is part and parcel of touring, but within reason."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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