Just a week after guiding Wales to a Grand Slam against some not especially good teams, Warren Gatland has been offered the job of being Lions coach for the tour of Australia next year. The New Zealander is thought be a shoe-in to accept the job and it’s really just a matter of deciding how to balance the job with his commitments with Wales.
The Lions haven’t won a series since 1997’s victory over a Springboks side that had only a couple of years earlier won the World Cup under the captaincy of Matt Damon. Officially the Lions is meant to be a throwback to the days of the Corinthian spirit and winning isn’t the be all and end all, but man, losing to all those smug southern hemisphere teams every four years gets very annoying.
In classic ‘you’d rather have him in the tent pissing out than outside the tent pissing in’ style, Gatland has the capacity to be a prickly character at times, but seems to command the respect of the players that come under his guidance. He’ll come up with the right game plan to take on the Wallabies and he’s right man to convince the English players to stop throwing dwarves and jumping into harbours. There’s over a year to go until the first Test, but between the nations of Britain and Ireland, there should be enough talent to cobble together a useful squad and Gatland’s skills will be required to mould it into a successful team. For once it would be great to see a smug southern hemisphere at the end of the series that doesn’t belong to the opposition.