Great Britain’s Olympics sevens team have resurrected the infamous ‘Kangaroo Court’ from the British and Irish Lions after approaching Warren Gatland for bonding advice.
With players from England, Wales and Scotland, the 12-man squad are hoping to form a bond similar to the one forged by Gatland’s Lions, who secured a series victory over Australia in 2013.
‘Court’ sessions were made famous on the 1997 Lions tour, led by Jim Telfer and Sir Ian McGeechan, and involved fancy dress and heavy drinking sessions as punishments for perceived ‘crimes’. ‘I’m fortunate that (assistant coach) Gareth Williams is very close to Warren Gatland,’ said head coach Simon Amor.
‘We had a strong Lions feel and the guys had a good evening in Moscow (after a warm-up tournament in the Russian capital last month).
‘Bonding off the field is very important. That is driven by the players themselves. The characters have gelled.’
Fly-half Dan Bibby added: ‘The Court was led by players from England, Scotland and Wales. It was in a bar with all the squad and management. All the things you thought were on the sly came up.’
Amor confirmed his squad yesterday, with Scotland centre Mark Bennett being the only capped XVs player, in the absence of the likes of George North, Danny Cipriani and Stuart Hogg.
‘I’m confident this group can do something special,’ said Amor. ‘It is a very complex situation to get the home nations to come together, create a GB programme and integrate the 15-a-side guys.’
Wales centre Cory Allen did not make the squad, but Scarlets flanker James Davies, brother of Wales and Lions centre Jonathan, and Marcus Watson, brother of England winger Anthony, are among four XVs specialists. ‘My parents have gone to Australia to watch Anthony and now they are booking their tickets to Rio,’ said Watson, whose brother starred in England’s recent whitewash over the Wallabies. ‘Their summer is one to remember.’