Lions in SA

salarchaser

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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.
Not sure his straight talking fitted the culture at the top of the English game.
As a Welshman I was grateful for their oversight.

People also forget he was a successful head coach at Wasps for a number of years winning several trophies.
 
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Not sure his straight talking fitted the culture at the top of the English game.
As a Welshman I was grateful for their oversight.

People also forget he was a successful head coach at Wasps for a number of years winning several trophies.
So we are agreed, Wales' success under Gatland can be entirely credited to an Englishman.
I'll get my coat.
 

Handel

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I thought I would give it a day and hope for an answer. (I had hoped we could stop mentioning Cockerill by now Ian.). I am fairly sure that if Gatland had stuck by what he said in 2017 and declined the job, the Lions board would have tried to get Farrell Snr to do it. All we know tells us that Edwards wasn't available after he signed with France. Townsend as head coach! I am looking forward to finding out why he spent so long in quarantine and whether he actually had Covid.
Yes it would be great to have a Lions side play like they did in 1971. But they need three things for that, a change in the playing styles of the four home nations, a longer tour, better opposition. It appears they can't do anything about any of that. A common playing style across the four home nations would be a start but I can't see that happening either.
I do wonder whether the English clubs knew how long a rest the Lions players have to have now. Essentially they won't get their players back until December. Though Exeter will get Simmonds back sooner and Harlequins might get Smith back at the same time 😊.
 

ozzyian

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Look at those Welsh players that came through from around 2012/13 from the Jones/Adams/Jenkins/Owens front row, AWJ, Tipuric, Charteris, Warburton, Falatau etc, backs of the calibre of North, Halfpenny, Davies, Phillips, Biggar (when he was good :) ) Williams (ditto)

That is a fantastic crop of talented players to get coming through together. The coach doesn't have to be all that good when you've got players like that. I'm not saying that the coach has nothing to do but looking at the raw talent covering pretty much all positions with a good handful of exceptional players it wouldn't be the hardest coaching job in the World.

Looking at those players now you could almost make the argument that Wales underachieved results wise. For me, Gatland is massively overrated, always has been.
 
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Occasional salmon fisher

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There is no way that the Lions would have picked Townsend as their head coach. Two consecutive fourth place finishes in the 6 Nations (bearing in mind that Italy are guaranteed to be sixth) - they would have been ridiculed when/(if) the Lions lost.
 

ozzyian

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The Cockerill thing really was tongue in cheek. My point was that Gatland made a real mess of this and I think it is down to the mentality he has. Further to that the point I am trying to make is that any number of coaches could and would have done a better job - in my opinion of course. You neatly anticipated the answer to your question when you said 'anyone but Gatland is no answer' I'm afraid to say Handel that is my answer! By the board limiting the applicants as you point out then the qualification requirements for the job were wrong, so as I mentioned the real problem was the job description.

At the end of the day the tour was lost and Gatland demonstrated poor judgement. It is fair to comment on and criticise that I think. By the way, I think that if Townsend had been head coach the Lions would probably have won the tour - notwithstanding the fact that Russel was only available for 1 game.

The straight talking Cockers is a very well liked and respected character in Scottish rugby and we are all sorry to see him go, I am going to leave his face there for the day:)
 

salarchaser

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Jones/Adams/Jenkins/Owens front row, AWJ, Tipuric, Charteris, Warburton, Falatau etc, backs of the calibre of North, Halfpenny, Davies, Phillips, Biggar (when he was good :) ) Williams (ditto)

That is a fantastic crop of talented players to get coming through together.
Have a slightly different perspective on the development of some of those players.
It was the Welsh coaches who developed many of them. They were spending more time in Welsh training camps than with their regions. At one point George North had more caps for Wales than he'd played games for the Scarlets.
The backrow of Warburton, Faletau and Lydiate came through as a block as 20, 21 and 22 year olds. Brought into the squad as youngsters and developed.
Same with Jon Davies.
Tom Francis was an unfit tighthead who could scrum a bit and became a world class tighthead AFTER being drafted into the welsh set up.

Gatland inherited some good players but also brought through many more.
A lot of the raw tallent was there no doubt, but they became the players they did through coaching, as much with the Wales set up as with their regions.
Quite a few ex Welsh internationals speak very highly of Gatland. There have been some public spats, especially as careers came to an end, but it always appears the recognition is there.

I do feel at times Gatland became single minded, blinkered even, which limited him in some aspects, but he had a plan, surrounded himself with coaches to develop the plan and selected and developed players to execute the plan.
137 players represented wales under gatland. Not all world beaters, but often part of winning sides. Over 90 of those got their first caps under him.

Quite often, man for man, the opposition was better than wales, but not as a team.
England have far more resources available to them than Scotland, Wales and Ireland (england have 10 times more registered players than wales) but havent acheived as much as wales in that time.
Luck or good coaching?
The straight talking Cockers is a very well liked and respected character in Scottish rugby and we are all sorry to see him go, I am going to leave his face there for the day:)
Dont forget your defence coach, who was also on the lions coaching staff in SA.
He would have been a popular choice for wales defence coach before Pivac appointed Hayward.
 

ozzyian

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Tandy is one of those quiet hard working achievers and looks like his influence has been very positive for Scotland - who seem very good now defensively, albeit that it usually seems to be the case that a good organised defence can blunt the attack a bit.

When you were talking about 9s playing 10 I almost mentioned Mike Blair (didn't want to be going on about the Scots though :)) I watched him a few times at Edinburgh switching effortlessly between 9 and 10 all in the same game, it was a great way to start confusion in the defending side.

I think he was a fantastic player - very trustworthy and smart enough to know when to take chances he also had excellent vision and distribution with a long pass like Russells and capable of some lovely skillful little touches of timing to remove a defender. I mention this because after Cockers departure Blair has come from Scotland attack coach to be the Edinburgh coach and it looks to me like the SRU see a big coaching future in him. Blair was also a Lions player, I think one day (like Gregor) he'll be a Lions coach.
 

salarchaser

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Tandy is one of those quiet hard working achievers and looks like his influence has been very positive for Scotland - who seem very good now defensively, albeit that it usually seems to be the case that a good organised defence can blunt the attack a bit.

When you were talking about 9s playing 10 I almost mentioned Mike Blair (didn't want to be going on about the Scots though :)) I watched him a few times at Edinburgh switching effortlessly between 9 and 10 all in the same game, it was a great way to start confusion in the defending side.

I think he was a fantastic player - very trustworthy and smart enough to know when to take chances he also had excellent vision and distribution with a long pass like Russells and capable of some lovely skillful little touches of timing to remove a defender. I mention this because after Cockers departure Blair has come from Scotland attack coach to be the Edinburgh coach and it looks to me like the SRU see a big coaching future in him. Blair was also a Lions player, I think one day (like Gregor) he'll be a Lions coach.
A lot of 9s dont look comfortable receiving the ball in open play. Ok at the breakdown and probably touch the ball more than any other player but dont seem to like standing in a back line receiving the ball.

No issue with you bigging up scots players. Someone has to. :ROFLMAO:

To be fair, Ive admired a lot of players from north of the border from as far back a Jim Renwick, Finley Caulder, john Jeffries, through doddie weir etc.
 

Handel

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I think I have now made my point about the appointment of Gatland for this year. The job was filled just over two years ago to make sure the appointee was free in the year leading up to the tour. As Occasional Salmon Fisher has neatly put it, there is no way that would have been Townsend. (Can you imagine being one of the appointing committee if they had taken a punt on him and then he had had that falling out with Russell:eek:.) We have to get real here and there were very few candidates, no-one has so far named another serious one. And don't forget the players. They aren't going to go on tour with any old head coach (Cockerill).
What did strike me was how quickly Gatland had become a bit out of touch with the players available. He was lead astray by Eddie Jones who kept on picking the Sarries players so Gatland did likewise because he knew them all. The only one worth his place was Itoje. He was right to leave out Sinckler and it is a shame Porter was injured. It is also a shame that all those Scottish hookers were injured, I would have had all three of them ahead of the players picked. He picked Hill on size not realising he isn't international calibre, I expect he does now. He picked Simmonds when he should have realised you have to build a pack round him, he won't just fit into a pack built on conventional lines, Eddie has worked that one out. He didn't try and persuade Marler to tour (I hear on the grapevine that he was persuadable) when Jones was the only loosehead whose scrummaging was good enough, and he picked up that injury. George North was a huge loss. Without wishing to be unkind to Price, when he is your best 9 you have a problem. A very knowledgeable Welsh friend tells me that Davies isn't even the best 9 at the Scarlets never mind in Wales. And Jonny May would have been a better bet than a couple of the wingers. And what was going on with Hogg who had lost his place in the Exeter team?
Enough, sadly there will be a tour in 4 years time. There shouldn't be. But at least the Lions and Gatland can hold their heads up. Erasmus was a disgrace to rugby.
 
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