Warren Gatland to coach the Lions in Australia?

Warren GatlandWarren Gatland is the clear favourite to coach the Lions on their 2013 tour to Australia.

The WRU has confirmed that he has been approached, he has a break in his contract which would allow him to do so, and given everything he has achieved, he’ll surely be the public’s choice.

The only sticking point seems to be that the Lions committee would like a full-time coach in place for the year leading up to the tour, which is likely to rule out nearly every plausible candidate.

It seems unlikely that the best man for the job will be able to dedicate a year of service to the Lions’ cause, particularly when they’ll be offered so little time with the players. Is it really a full-time role for the year leading up to the tour?

Is it inevitable that the WRU and Lions committee agree terms? Or will the Lions stand firm and appoint another coach that is not currently in contract? How about Nick Mallett?!

Do you think there are any other contenders for the job?

13 thoughts on “Warren Gatland to coach the Lions in Australia?

  1. Not suprised. Would imagine he will take Shaun Edwards and Graham Rowntree with him.
    The only other person who could have been considered imo. is Conor O,Shea.

  2. He’ll definitely take it. Good luck to him I say. The Welsh manager position is baically coaching college for future Kiwi managers now, and coaching the Lions will definitely boost his chances of one day taking on the ultimate position with the All Blacks.

    I just hope this doesn’t ruin his relationship with the Welsh players like Graham Henry’s stint in charge of the Lions did in 2001. I think it’s a lot easier to keep your players on side if you’re winning though, so hopefully the same pressures that caused such a rift in 2001 won’t come fo the fore this time around. Also, we have a good team in place with Rob Howley and Robin McBryde, so if we did lose Gats for a long period of time I’d like to think we could still compete well with the systems he has put in place.

  3. I do find it odd that a coach that has been so dismissive and critical of England and Ireland is now in a position to be coaching a side made up of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. I predict a disaster tour.

    1. Ye i remember Gatland saying that Wales (himself and the players) “didn’t like the irish” before the last Lions tour. Not ideal for the touring players last time but maybe even harder to manage players after saying that about them. Having said that hes still probably the right man for the job. Its very hard to tell if anyone will make a good lions coach as its such a unique task.

  4. Gatland has defeinately earned the right but doesn’t look like the WRFU are going to let him have his cake and eat it. I think that Mallet could be an excellent shout! He will be free to dedicate the time they require and won’t have any country bias (except maybe anti English if he doesn’t get the job, tongue in cheek).

  5. I would like to see the Lions approaching managers who don’t have country bias, but would be good shouts. Guys like Kirwan, Mallet, White, all good shouts for something like this. It’s also an opportunity for the group of players as a whole to learn a different style of play from a different style of coach.

  6. I don’t see what is wrong with Gatland. He’s a good coach. No one complained that McGeechan was Scottish and would be biased, although Woodward may have gone with too many Englishmen. Difficult for any coach. If it is a hard call to pick between two players you’re always going to err on the side of the one you know can do the job, rather than the one who may be able to do the job. Always going to be some bias, but generally the best players will get in regardless of nationality.

  7. I think for Gatland to take a sabbatical at this juncture of Wales’ development is crazy. A poor second season destroyed the momentum the last time they won the grand slam and I’m amazed that both the indvidual and WRFU have agreed to this. They could have given Henry a second stab at it, or wait to see if Mallett is available. Or how about a coach with experience of bringing a team together at short notice and creating a good team ethic… Lancaster? I jest of course but would add that being a successful International coach does not necessarily translate to the Lions – SCW and Geech are testament to that.

    1. Benjit are you putting SCW and Geech in as the same example ?

      Just that Geech came within a cats whisker of a series win in NZ won one series and lost one in AUS and won in SA and a total of 12 tests coached and 6 won is very “successful” overall in Lions historical terms far bette than the overall average.

      SCW was just a total unmitigated disaster with the Lions despite winning a World Cup with England . McGeechan did however coach the unbeaten mid-week side on that particular tour !

      1. The same example but for different reasons. SCW successful international coach but unsuited to managing the lions. Geech was a less successful coach but used to managing with limited resources so far more suited to the lions. My point being that Gatlands success MAY not necessarily make him the best choice

  8. Good luck to him. He’ll get a dry run of playing a test series against Australia in Australia this year with Wales, so it makes sense.

    On the other hand, his record against Australia isn’t that flash.

  9. I have no problem as a Welshman with Gatland coaching the 2013 Lions but I don`t understand why the Lions say they need him from Sept 2012?!! Firstly what the hell will he do for 10 months? Secondly this will hinder Wales in their quest for domination in the NH with the autumn internationals and 2013 6N coming up. His prority is Wales full stop but if the WRU are good enough to let him take the Lions role then it should be in January after the autumn fixtures. This will give him plenty of time to run the rule over the players from all 4 nations and keep him fresh in coaching matters with Wales in the autumn. Surely this makes the most sense all round Mr. Irvine?? Also for Shaun Edwards, read above. They have contracts to honour and I believe the WRU are be helpful enough with out the Lions taking the mick.

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