Monday 5 December 2016

Gatland could eclipse Lions coaching legends

Published 13/09/2016 | 02:30

Warren Gatland has been appointed head coach for the British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand Photo: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
Warren Gatland has been appointed head coach for the British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand Photo: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

You can't really argue with the appointment of Warren Gatland as head coach for a second successive Lions tour.

  • Go To

In a sense he was left the only realistic candidate standing.

Having led the 2013 Lions to victory in Australia (by far the least demanding of the tours), he has the coaching stripes.

And yet I find it difficult to warm to the former Ireland coach.

I really admire all that Gatland has achieved since first arriving in Galway way back when.

He has proved himself durable in the extreme, with his teams well set up to compete.

He also surrounds himself with the right technical people, which is the key to successful management.

He has done it with club (Wasps), with country (Wales) and with the Lions, so am I to question his right to a shot at the ultimate challenge now?

Beat the All Blacks next summer and he can be mentioned in the same coaching breath as the legendary Carwyn James.

James was coach to the series-winning Lions in New Zealand in '71; Syd Millar led the unbeaten tourists in South Africa three years later.

And if Gatland delivers next summer, it would perhaps be the biggest achievement of any Lions coach, given the backline talent available to James and Millar in the golden period of Welsh rugby - and Mike Gibson and David Duckham were pretty handy too.

Irish Independent

Read More

Promoted articles

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport