Lions in SA

salarchaser

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Perhaps more interesting is do we think the four home nations would individually have done any worse than the Lions?
Tis indeed an interesting one.
SA were probably stronger at the WC than on the lions tour due to better preparation. Wales came close to beating them as did England.
Does blending squads strengthen or weaken performances?
Intuitively it should strengthen things. Doesnt always pan out that way unfortunately.

The lions is an institution. The touring players appear to like it. The host nation seems to like it. The fans seem to like it.
However, it is becoming increasingly challenged by the world rugby schedule.
 

Occasional salmon fisher

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It should strengthen things by having better/the best players available in all positions.

The weakness is that the players probably won't have played together for many years and won't know instinctively what their team mates will do in any given situation. And of course the coach won't know all the players as well as their "regular" coach.

I hope it continues as it does provide international interest and lots of debate amongst the home nations about who should play and what the tactics should be !
 

mows

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For me, the issue is,
That you can have as many talented players as want.
But it doesnt make any difference when you have a coach that will only play his "systems"
And seems to have no ability or comprehension to take in to account individual talent, accomodate it, nurture it, or allow it, if it means his "system" will have to change slightly.
Last 2 tours were there for the winning.
But you need to play to win.
Not play to not loose.

Thought Gatland was a overly confident one trick pony before this tour.
Good at his one trick though.
And still think he is a limited one trick pony.
 

Aled

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Just caught up: Yep i agree SA were there for the taking, but i am disappointed to say that certain players did not seem at the top of their game this tour, and that includes Hogg & Liam Williams. The tour format probably did not help either, or injuries! It was what it was its Australia in four years, i think as other have mentioned the Lions tours will continue, but i agree with what others here have said, the format of Lions tours will need to change.
 

mows

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Just caught up: Yep i agree SA were there for the taking, but i am disappointed to say that certain players did not seem at the top of their game this tour, and that includes Hogg & Liam Williams. The tour format probably did not help either, or injuries! It was what it was its Australia in four years, i think as other have mentioned the Lions tours will continue, but i agree with what others here have said, the format of Lions tours will need to change.
I think the Aussie tour may well be managed by another over confident one trick pony.
Though not nearly as good as Gatland.
Who again, will only play his system.
And again will play not to loose.
 

ozzyian

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I think Mows is correct, the guy simply just does not have the capacity to see what he has at hand. He must be very strong willed because virtually everybody was telling him he was doing it wrong. I wonder whether Finn actually listened to a word he was told before the game. If he was prepared to overrule Gregor at halftime at Twickenham because the tactics are wrong I suspect all he would have heard from Gatland the day before the game was white noise. All that being said then presumably the real culpable parties were sat around the board table.

Quite frankly virtually any professional rugby coach could achieve at least what was just achieved and any of them with any guts about them at all would have won the series. Whats more the style of play wouldn't have been so embarrassing and damaging to the institution.

I suppose that if he wants it Toonie is up next time around but honestly I don't think its especially critical (so long as we don't get you know who again)
 

Handel

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I see no-one has taken me up on my question of who they thought should have been head coach. And "anyone else" won't be an answer.
 

ozzyian

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I know a fella down the pub who would've done it for £500 and won that series :)

I would have preferred a home nations coach but Cotter, Lancaster, Cockerill, Schmidt, there are plenty. Imho the short list could be anything but instead of 'getting the highest profile name we could' - which I expect is just what happened. Highest profile isn't necessarily best suited, that at least is now a bit clearer I would say.
 

Handel

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Lancaster failed with England and had to leave the country (would never have been accepted in England). Cockerill has no international coaching experience. Schmidt turned down the 2017 tour, is regarded as a complete control freak and many in Ireland were glad to see the back of him. Cotter an interesting one but like all the others has no Lions experience. None of them has been on a Lions tour whether as player or coach.
McGeechan would tell you and has said/written on a number of occasions that you need someone who understands the complexities of knitting together a disparate group of player and comes up with a pattern they can play to.
Your list demonstrates how few candidates there were because none of them would have been one. The Irish weren't going to release Farrell Snr. Townsend and Pivac weren't experienced enough. And that leaves someone who may well be a candidate in 2025 even though he too hasn't been on a Lions tour, the current England head coach.
 

mows

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Lancaster failed with England and had to leave the country (would never have been accepted in England). Cockerill has no international coaching experience. Schmidt turned down the 2017 tour, is regarded as a complete control freak and many in Ireland were glad to see the back of him. Cotter an interesting one but like all the others has no Lions experience. None of them has been on a Lions tour whether as player or coach.
McGeechan would tell you and has said/written on a number of occasions that you need someone who understands the complexities of knitting together a disparate group of player and comes up with a pattern they can play to.
Your list demonstrates how few candidates there were because none of them would have been one. The Irish weren't going to release Farrell Snr. Townsend and Pivac weren't experienced enough. And that leaves someone who may well be a candidate in 2025 even though he too hasn't been on a Lions tour, the current England head coach.
Are you saying Gatland was sucessfull on this tour because of his experience?
He bottled it in the last match in Aus.
What did his experience tell him this time round.
Ahh thats right, bottle it again.
Experience only counts if you learn from it.
He was just too far out of his comfort zone with players in the team that arent from wales.
Be even worse next time when townsend tries to field a team exclusively with glasgow warriors.
 

ozzyian

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'knitting together a disparate group of player and comes up with a pattern they can play to'

You have hit the nail on the head there, or McGeechan anyway This is what Gatland cannot do. Or more accurately I suppose, the pattern is wrong - it only works in pretty specific circumstances. Most thought it lead to Lions failure in the same way something a bit similar led to WC defeat for England. Do you remember the comment (I think by du Toit) 'when we saw England kick like that twice in the first couple of minutes we knew we were going to win this game'

Did you see Gatlands post defeat interview on Saturday? He tried to jump onto the Finn Russel bandwagon and sing his praises. I couldn't actually really believe the bare faced deceit myself. We all know that Russel was due to come on at 60 mins (almost certainly when the game was already lost) and because of his AWJ and Murray selection errors he would have had Price walking off at the same time Finn walked on. Surely he must understand this??? It was in the papers, talked about by everyone who follows rugby - even in little old fishing forums. As it happened he (we) got lucky and the Price/Russel combination got the time together that everyone (bar Gatland of course) knew was the best option to prevent a repeat Bokke steamroller. Yet there he was making out it was some genius selection decision that nearly paid off. Bloody appalling!

Any of those coaches I mentioned would have done a better job imo and that list could be extended to about 20 or 30 more. Why would one demand previous Lions experience? Is it to be said that Gatland was the only suitable candidate in which case, as mentioned the fault lies with those who wrote the job description. In his day someone like Bob Dwyer would have out thought, out motivated and played tactical rings around him - imo. I can think of several more too.

Handel my rugby friend, a quick question. Go back in time 6 months, who would you rather, Richard Cockerill or Warren bloody Gatland?
 
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ozzyian

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Are you saying Gatland was sucessfull on this tour because of his experience?
He bottled it in the last match in Aus.
What did his experience tell him this time round.
Ahh thats right, bottle it again.
Experience only counts if you learn from it.
He was just too far out of his comfort zone with players in the team that arent from wales.
Be even worse next time when townsend tries to field a team exclusively with glasgow warriors.
Toonie is quite a mercenary little so and so :) , if he got the gig he might be the first Lions coach ever to underselect his own countrymen!!

I have a suspicion that after the NZ tour the old heads (at Murrayfield in particular - but across all the nations) would have made the point that one eyed selections were causing immense damage to the institution. I suspect that is why Toonie was never in doubt to go as an assistant together with the word that the squad had to be more representative. Maybe that is what caused this disaster. Either way Gatland was the wrong bloke.
 
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Aled

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If we want to see more running rugby from the Lions, then maybe Stephen Jones may be a man to lead on this, however lets see how Wales go over the coming years first!!!
 

Handel

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Toonie is quite a mercenary little so and so :) , if he got the gig he might be the first Lions coach ever to underselect his own countrymen!!

I have a suspicion that after the NZ tour the old heads (at Murrayfield in particular - but across all the nations) would have made the point that one eyed selections were causing immense damage to the institution. I suspect that is why Toonie was never in doubt to go as an assistant together with the word that the squad had to be more representative. Maybe that is what caused this disaster. Either way Gatland was the wrong bloke.
I see we still don't have a name - because Cockerill certainly isn't it. There is no way the Lions committee would choose a head coach who had never coached at international level. (Mind you the most successful Lions coach never coached at international level.)
Woodward is the most successful British and Irish head coach of all time in that he has won the RWC and he seemed like a sensible choice. If you want to see a disaster of a Lions tour I give you 2005. They didn't give NZ a game. What that demonstrates is that it isn't an easy gig. Very few could do the job. I doubt there are 2 or 3. There certainly aren't 20 or 30.
And Henry didn't do brilliantly in 2001. He seemed like a sensible choice as well. And he didn't do badly afterwards.
I get that you Scots don't care for Gatland and find it difficult to be objective about him so let's move on. Is it time to put the Lions in the too difficult pile and scrap the concept? I asked whether the Lions did any better against SA than any one of the four home nations would have done but only salarchaser commented. The question is relevant because if they didn't, why have them?
And just to make my own position clear, I would have scrapped them after 2005.
 

Handel

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Are you saying Gatland was sucessfull on this tour because of his experience?
He bottled it in the last match in Aus.
What did his experience tell him this time round.
Ahh thats right, bottle it again.
Experience only counts if you learn from it.
He was just too far out of his comfort zone with players in the team that arent from wales.
Be even worse next time when townsend tries to field a team exclusively with glasgow warriors.
Do you mean the last match in NZ? The last match in Aus produced the Lions biggest ever test win.
 

ozzyian

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There's 2 or 3 on this forum that would have started pretty much the side that we got when Dan Biggar went off:)

No Lions tour is easy - for all the reasons that have been talked about but drawing comparisons with historical tours isn't really always so illuminating I don't think. Each one faces it's own set of unique problems, some tours probably weren't actually winnable based on available player resources and quality of opposition.

But this one will go down as a fundamentally underperforming tour. Underperforming because of unrealised potential and because of the quality of the opposition. Gatland made a complete dogs breakfast of this one. That's hardly subjective - it is a very widely accepted position as far as I can see and somewhat vindicated due to the hand of fate. When something as underperforming and downright dismal as this occurs and consensus all along was that it was the coach I think the criticism is justified.
 

ozzyian

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Anyway Handel it's done now. I wouldn't want to see the end of the Lions myself but I do wait with hope that we can see them play some great rugby once again. Btw, I might just point you back to post 249 and the comment about the autumn series here ;)
 

salarchaser

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Anyway Handel it's done now. I wouldn't want to see the end of the Lions myself but I do wait with hope that we can see them play some great rugby once again. Btw, I might just point you back to post 249 and the comment about the autumn series here ;)
Looking forward to seeing your prediction come to pass.

You do wonder how many lions will be fit and firing by autumn given the amount they've played in the last 12-18 months.

Interesting that Gatland told Mako he wasn't fit enough for international rugby when he turned up in Jersey.
 
D

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I'd have given it to the Scotland coach and had the Welsh guy who now coaches the French national team defence. Imo both excellent coaches. In particular the Scotland coach who has had his team playing attractive attacking rugby.

It doesn't matter about experience.
 

salarchaser

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I'd have given it to the Scotland coach and had the Welsh guy who now coaches the French national team defence. Imo both excellent coaches. In particular the Scotland coach who has had his team playing attractive attacking rugby.

It doesn't matter about experience.
The welsh guy who coaches the French defence is an English guy. ;)
Shaun Edwards was instrumental in the Welsh successes of the last 10+ years.
Gats never took him on a lions tour though despite having worked together for so long with Wales and before that with Wasps.
Wales dallied when Pivac took over and edwards was lost to Welsh rugby. His seccessor didnt last long before rookie coach Gethin Jenkins was brought in.
In my opinion, Edwards is among the best defence coaches in the world. Straight talking, no nonsense, tough as teak, Lancastrian rugby league player.

You're right though. I'd have taken him.
 
D

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The welsh guy who coaches the French defence is an English guy. ;)
Shaun Edwards was instrumental in the Welsh successes of the last 10+ years.
Gats never took him on a lions tour though despite having worked together for so long with Wales and before that with Wasps.
Wales dallied when Pivac took over and edwards was lost to Welsh rugby. His seccessor didnt last long before rookie coach Gethin Jenkins was brought in.
In my opinion, Edwards is among the best defence coaches in the world. Straight talking, no nonsense, tough as teak, Lancastrian rugby league player.

You're right though. I'd have taken him.
Was in a hurry :ROFLMAO: :ROFLMAO: :ROFLMAO: thanks for the correction!
 
D

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Edwards went on a lions tour as coach to SA in 2009 under McGeechan.
Talent and experience. I never understood why England didn't snap him up. It was obvious watching Wales that their defence was the main reason they were winning.
 
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