British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland says Monday’s first squad meeting is “very important” after criticism of its timing by Saracens.
The squad met to collect their kit for this summer’s tour of New Zealand.
Saracens boss Mark McCall said it was “unbelievable” to host the meeting five days before his side play Clermont in the European Champions Cup final.
But Gatland said: “We haven’t had any requests from anyone to move this date [which was] communicated months ago.”
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Reigning European champions Saracens – who have six players in the Lions squad – cancelled training on Monday.
Gloucester duo Ross Moriarty and Greig Laidlaw also attended the meeting, with their club meeting Stade Francais in the European Challenge Cup final on Friday.
McCall told the Sunday Telegraph he hoped the traditional ‘admin’ day would be “taken out of the calendar” for future Lions tours.
“We’re very grateful to Saracens and Gloucester with big games this week for releasing players to us,” said Gatland.
“It does really make a big difference for us. It’s exciting, but also a very important day for us.
“Every Lions squad goes through this organisation day. I’ve spoken to most of the players, it’s like the first day of school.”
The Lions fly out to New Zealand on 29 May, with their first match on 3 June before three Tests against the All Blacks, who are world champions.
Laidlaw selection ‘reasonably easy’
Scotland scrum-half Laidlaw joined up with the squad in place of Ben Youngs, who withdrew from the tour on Saturday after the wife of his brother Tom learned that she is terminally ill.
Gatland said it was “really tough” for the 27-year-old England scrum-half.
“As far as I’m concerned family comes first, he’s made that decision and we know how close they are and we fully respect that decision and understand it,” Gatland added.
Laidlaw, 31, missed the final three matches of Scotland’s 2017 Six Nations campaign after injuring his ankle in round two against France, which Gatland said was “one of the reasons” he was not included in the original squad.
“It was obviously not ideal for him, but he’s here from day one which is a bit easier than a later introduction to the squad,” said Gatland.
“It’s a sensitive situation but he has experience and also leadership experience and I’m sure he’ll do well.”