Warren Gatland confirmed as Lions coach for South Africa 2021


Warren Gatland has been confirmed as the coach of the Lions for the 2021 tour to South Africa.

It will be Gatland’s third tour in a row as head coach, following a series win over Australia in 2013 and the drawn series in New Zealand in 2017.

What do you think of the appointment?

And is it time to pick a Lions team whilst it’s a bit quiet around here?

19 thoughts on “Warren Gatland confirmed as Lions coach for South Africa 2021

  1. 3rd time lucky.. again? His Lions record looks fairly decent & he may catch SA with too many abroad (some 300 @ last count?), so these odds could favour him. However, his Wales’ record v the SH is pretty woeful. Also, Lions’ tours are only 4 yrly & thus his results too far apart to form an objective trend. Additionally, SA may play or lure back their overseas players for 21. Don’t think it would go down too well if they were likely to get walloped @ home, their positive discrimination policy notwithstanding. Bit early to start picking shoo ins just yet?

  2. Fair enough. His record has been pretty good so far, and I quite like the fact that he won’t be the Wales coach this time round. It might be that this is the future rather than one of the national coaches doing the job.

  3. Not questioning his record but for the sake of variety it would have been nice for another coach to take over for this tour.
    As a counter to Staggy’s comment, I don’t think it’ll make a difference whether or not he is Wales coach at the time, I think he will still revert to type with selection. But lets wait and see I guess.

    1. Jake. Not really arguing, he might revert to type and pick the players he knows, but I quite like the fact that he will be partly removed from any of the national squads and not have to worry about keeping “his boys” happy for when the tour has finished.

    2. Read recently that he’s going back home to coach the Chiefs after the WC. They’re giving him time off for the Lions’ tour.

  4. The only upside in this appointment is that it rules out any chance of him coaching England. I don’t understand the adulation for Gatland. With the exception of the 3rd test vs the Aussies the Lions weren’t great first time around and whilst the draw against NZ was a pleasant surprise, I think the Lions were only ahead in all 3 tests for a grand total of 4 and 1/2 minutes. Wales were worthy winners of the 6N but under Gatland they’ve beaten Australia once and NZ never. His selections have been controversial and when key players like SOB call him out, you have to question the appointment. I would like to have seen Townsend offered a shot – a great Lion, making real progress with Scotland and a coach with great vision for attacking rugby.

    1. Agree about challenging Gatland’s adulation based on reputation. As pointed out, v the SH, Wales have been dreadful. Can’t recall
      much of the Oz series, but I do the controversy of BOD’s dropping. Hailed @ the time, but who’s to tell if the Lions wouldn’t have performed just as well or better if BOD had’t been sacked? In NZ, Gatland’s team won 1 test by 3 v 14. However & OTOH, would he have done a better or worse job for England than Jones? Would you rather have Jones or Gatland managing England in Japan? Tricky one. Regarding Townsend? He inherited an improved Sottish team set up by Cotter. He’s not won much of note internationally. Best he’s managed is to give England a bit of a scare recently @ HQ.

  5. While not being Eddie Jones biggest fan, I would say that his coaching style lends itself quite nicely to the Lions. He seems to be incredibly effective in short term gorilla mentality coaching – as I think his record with England illustrates quite nicely. Unquestionably the Lions have the players and resources to win in South Africa, particularly with South Africa battling a crippling player drain and while a Gatland will be in charge for that tour, I wouldn’t bet against Jones being there to rile up his home country in 2025…

    1. Mmm. Might depend on how England go between now & in Japan. Jones seems to initially inject enthusiasm & momentum into an environment, but then runs out of ideas, confidence & then becomes conservative. For instance, picking 1/2 his current pack only due to injury, adopting an intransigent kicking game, which when not working, e.g. v Wales, still rigidly sticks to it, as he does with unimiginative & or volatile players like Farrell & Youngs. Hardly future Lions material methinks.

  6. Happy with Gatland, his record is strong and i disagree with the notion he takes too many of the welsh boys, think he mostly picks proven test players, can any one name any obvious favouritism picks?

      1. The ONLY issue with BOD was that he kept him in too long. I believe there were others who should have gone on the tour instead of him. Bod was a weak link in the previous tests on this tour. It is the only time Gatland has shown a soft side.He is recognised in Wales for his lack of favouritism when he deems someone to be past his best.Perhaps it was fear of a perceived “Welsh bias” backlash that stopped him putting JD in earlier.

        1. This is too general a view Pugh. Specifically, why do state that BOD was a ‘weak link’. Did he miss too many tackles, not make enough breaks, had he lost all his pace, did he lack nous & exp? What? After all, there was a pretty loud backlash against his dropping by Gatland. Were they ALL wrong? And were they ALL Irish? Be careful here. You may not wish to come across as being anti-Paddy now, nart mean?

          1. I remember BOD being largely anonymous in the first two tests so to suggest JD was solely a favouritism pick over BOD is a bit disingenuous.

            That tour was one too many for BOD, no shame in that, easily one of the greatest centres to play the game, but he was 34 at the time i think? and i think JD, in his performance in that final test more than justified the switch – on top of which he had the added pressure of the absolute outcry of BOD being dropped.

            JD then went on to be man of the series 4 years later in NZ. So a decent test level 13, even if you don’t rate him as highly as perhaps a 20 something yr old BOD.

            1. BOD was largely held (probably unjustifiably) to blame for the final Australian surge to win it. He sliced a kick horribly back into Australian hands.

              A tiny blemish on a mighty career but I am in the camp which says that Jonathan Davies more than justified his selection in the final test and should have been there from the outset.

            2. Well, if BOD was so past it as you suggest, this must have brought Gatland’s judgement into ? then? If O’Driscoll was too old, why on earth pick him? Mind you, Brad Thorn was 36 (?) when he won a WC, so perhaps age is relative. That JD played well in 1test, according to you, is not indicative of a trend. What he did 4 yrs later is not relevant to the issue @ hand either. It’s retro wisdom in any case. Besides, I ?ed whether it was favouritism after picking O’D for the 1st 2 tests. What if Gatland’s side had just lost, instead of just winning the series? Maybe JD’s name would have been irrelevant, along with BOD’s, et al.

  7. Stuart Barnes opined that The Lions will have talent aplenty for SA in 21. He further reckoned that Dombrandt, Wainwright & Graham could be potential tourists too. When discussing back 3 options, he mentioned Liam Williams, Daly, Nowell & Watson for instance, yet strangely, he omitted Johnny May!? Bit odd.

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