The 56-year-old led the Lions to a drawn series against the All Blacks during their tour of New Zealand three years ago, and suggested a clash between the two sides – potentially at Twickenham – could act as a decider.
Gatland also said the fixture would be a significant revenue-generator for financially-embattled unions who are feeling the full brunt of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’ve spoken to Mark Robinson about a warm-up game for the Lions and he was potentially talking about the New Zealand Maoris,” he said.
“But is it something that the All Blacks go up there for? A decider before we go off to South Africa at the end of June next year.
“Potentially it’s an opportunity to make £4million or £5million from a game like that and put some money back into the coffers that we’re going to need.”
Speaking in a wide-ranging interview with WalesOnline, Hansen – who was Gatland’s counterpart in the 2017 series – agreed with the former Wales head coach’s vision as the game around the globe borders on financial turmoil.
“Well, it won’t be a decider, because it won’t be the same people involved,” Hansen, who has since joined Top League club Toyota Verblitz in Japan following last year’s World Cup, said.
“But what he’s really saying is ‘let’s have this game to try and help make some money for the game because the game is in trouble’.”
“You have got one rugby nation – the United States – who have gone bankrupt, we’ve got Australia on the brink, we know England have got a financial crisis… everybody will have, because you are not getting paid the TV rights and those are what makes the game go round.
“The game is in financial crisis. People are struggling, so I think anything that allows us to create some income to support the game is important.”
New Zealand Rugby isn’t exempt from the global economic downfall that is set to ensue from the coronavirus outbreak, with the organisation bracing for a $25 million loss this year.
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