Jared Payne & Warren Gatland Have An Interesting Connection That Goes Way Back
Jared Payne was a surprise selection in Warren Gatland’s Lions squad yesterday.
The Ulster and Ireland utility back is a player of excellent ability, but having only recently returned from a devastating kidney injury, many believed Payne wouldn’t be in Gatland’s plans for New Zealand this summer.
Payne is highly rated by his Irish teammates, with Garry Ringrose dubbing him the ‘defensive leader’ of the Ireland team, with his absence sorely felt at the beginning of the Six Nations. The New Zealand born star can also operate across the backline and of course knows his home country quite well having played at Super Rugby level there.
That being said, it was an excellent move by Gatland selecting him in the touring squad as his experience and versatility will be a huge asset. What would probably don’t know is Warren Gatland a long time ago dropped Payne from his Waikato squad as he thought he wasn’t fulfilling his potential.
The great thing about Jared Payne is that I coached Jared when I was at Waikato and I didn’t renew his contract and let him go,” said Gatland in London yesterday.
“I’m absolutely delighted to see the turnaround. He’s obviously a talented individual and I felt at the time that he wasn’t fulfilling his potential. He left Waikato, went to play for Northland and got selected for Super Rugby, ended up in Ireland and is now playing for Ireland and will be a British and Irish Lion.”
An amazing turnaround for Payne, proving that if you follow your dream and never give up- you will be rewarded.