Although Lions fans had hoped otherwise, last week The Times reported that Gregor Townsend would not be taking up a position on Warren Gatland’s coaching team next summer, and would instead take charge of Scotland’s tour of Australia.
Despite criticism from some supporters, such news was expected, in spite of a clause in Townsend’s contract allowing him join the Lions coaching team.
At the time, it was widely accepted that the Glasgow Warriors coach wanted to take charge of Scotland once the Pro12 season had come to a close. A perfectly understandable decision taken by Townsend given the rigours of the professional game.
However, according to an article published in The Times on Thursday morning, Townsend wanted to become a part of Gatland’s touring party, but was pressurised into rejecting it by Scottish Rugby Union officials.
— The Thistle (@thistlerugbypod) December 8, 2016
This will of course anger some Lions fans who believe that representing the touring side, either as a player or coach, is the highest honour that can be bestowed. Indeed for many, the individual unions of the British Isles should put aside their own self interest and work for a common cause.
However, if this story turns out to be correct, it demonstrates that such sentiment is not reflected in the modern incarnation of the Lions, and further illustrates how professionalism is slowly eroding the core values of the touring side.
Alan Drumm, Pundit Arena
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