Gatland’s curfew is a sobering reminder of the sad chokehold social media has on us

Rugby players on tour, at any level, is always going to involve two things: testosterone and booze. Simple, there’s no getting around it.

But there’s an inherent problem with this; in a day and age where people unnecessarily ‘check-in’ to let others know of their ventures with an avocado and toast, it has become the norm that all forms of activities are documented; from boozing with your teammates, to even the ridiculous/what should be the more private parts of life, taking a bath. No doubt, ‘touring activities’ will be plastered across all forms of social media channels.

It’s crippling society, we are doomed and are going to be living our lives through tablets; there’s nowhere to hide. It’s therefore no surprise as to why British and Irish Lions head coach, Warren Gatland, has set a ‘self-imposed’ curfew for the touring players in New Zealand:

“Guys might be out at 3 or 4am. They might be drinking water or orange juice, but it’s the perception of being out until that time. That’s what creates the controversy with the way that social media is now,”

Warren Gatland

The self-imposed curfew is that the players are to return to the team hotel at 1am, and are allowed to continue using the hotel bar as they please. The Kiwi-born coach insists that it worked for the Welsh side at the 2011 World Cup in the same country; a curfew that did not seem to exist for the English players.

10 pints, and one dwarf-throwing competition later, you’ll find the English side; a team who reached the final the previous two World Cups:

2011 World Cup, England winger, Chris Ashton - Image Source: TheJournal
2011 World Cup, England winger, Chris Ashton – Image Source: TheJournal

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Sure, not behaviour to promote, particularly on a World Cup tour, but also an element of: ‘why an earth were such activities being documented so closely?!’. Even Gatland himself said this week that he sympathised with the English side as media tablets and social media devices slowly began to take their influence on society:

“You have got to feel sorry for the English in 2011. Other teams did the same things and some very well known individuals got up to some stuff that wasn’t reported so you have got to feel a little bit. But you have got to be right.”

Warren Gatland

Gatland is spot on saying how you ‘have to be right’, the English weren’t in this case. But, stories from the Lions, stories from previous rugby tours are the ones which all the touring players enjoy without every Tom, Dick and Harry finding out about on social media.

We don’t have that anymore; it’s finished. As Gatland mentions, there were probably a couple that went untouched back in 2011, but nowadays, it will be strict curfews, the odd beer after victory, and an Instagram wishing however many followers ‘good night, after a top performance’.

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