Former Wales captain Gwyn Jones thinks Warren Gatland shouldn’t be appointed as head coach of the British and Irish Lions again.
Gatland has toured with the Lions on four occasions, three of those as a head coach, and has had a reasonable amount of success in his time in charge, as he led the side to a series win against Australia and a series draw against New Zealand.
This year’s tour of South Africa was the worst of his three tours as Lions head coach however, in terms of both performance and entertainment value, as the best of Britain and Ireland fell to a 2-1 series loss in three dour encounters.
Jones was writing in a column for WalesOnline and argued that this summer’s tour should be enough to dissuade those in charge of the Lions to appoint Gatland as head coach for a fourth time.
Gwyn Jones on Warren Gatland and the Lions tour.
“The Lions series was a disaster. The two most stubborn and uncompromising coaches in world rugby tried to beat each other by being the most negative. Rugby reached new lows, on and off the field,” Jones wrote.
“I’ve always hated the mind games in the press that others seem to enjoy. It spilt over during this series and created a toxic environment that dragged the reputation of the game to unnecessary depths.
“What saddens me about this tour is that this was meant to be the highlight of their careers. These talented and enthusiastic young men are at the pinnacle of their profession and the memories they have will not be what they should have been.
“There is no shame in losing, but by being so conservative and risk-averse, they were prevented from giving it their best shot. That must be a huge regret. It should also dissuade the Lions committee of appointing Warren Gatland ever again.”
IT’S CHRISTMASSSSS ?
Have an amazing day from everyone at the Lions ? pic.twitter.com/C12UOHG3LY
— British & Irish Lions (@lionsofficial) December 25, 2021
The Lions tour was a blip in a year of entertaining test rugby.
Although there is no doubt that the rugby on show on the Lions tour was far from the best version of the game, the majority of international rugby played this year was of high entertainment value.
Just last month, the Autumn Nations Series threw up a number of classics, such as New Zealand’s two thrilling losses to Ireland and France, while Wales’ win against Fiji was another absorbing encounter, albeit of a lower profile.
South Africa proved that they can play their part in entertaining games with their win against New Zealand in the final round of the Rugby Championship, with Lukhanyo Am’s out-the-back pass a sign of their skill level.
Some of the most entertaining matches were played in the weeks running up to the Lions series, as Australia and France played out a thrilling three-match test series which involved breathtaking skill and disastrous, but enthralling, errors.
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