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Warren Gatland Talks About Possibility Of Bringing Joe Schmidt Into The Lions Fold

Warren Gatland Talks About Possibility Of Bringing Joe Schmidt Into The Lions Fold

 

Warren Gatland has been talking to the Daily Mail about selecting his backroom staff for the 2017 Lions tour. He's due to announce the names of his backroom staff on 7 December.

Inevitably, he was asked about whether he'd bring on board two coaches have just beaten the All-Blacks. The answer implied an opennes towards bringing not only Schmidt but also defensive coach Andy Farrell into the fold for the tour.

Joe has been absolutely fantastic for Clermont, Leinster and now Ireland. Achieving that result last weekend was brilliant.

There was uncertainty a while ago about what he was doing, but now he has made that commitment to Ireland until the next World Cup, so there is potential there.

Gatland especially praised the Irish defensive performance, possibly a tribute to Ireland's new defensive coach Andy Farrell. His reputation has risen strongly in the past year. He is no longer being described in captions as the England defensive coach for the 2015 Rugby World Cup but rather the England defensive coach who helped mastermind the victory over New Zealand in 2012.

I've spoken about continuity of staff and adding some fresh faces. That defensive performance was very good.

In the next few weeks, I'll be putting that back-room staff in place.

We'll wait and see. He is someone who achieved a huge amount as a player, for Wigan and Great Britain. When he speaks to the players, he brings out a lot of those experiences he had in the past, and that has an impact. It often hits the right note and he delivers really well to the squad.

In the last three Lions tours of New Zealand, they've won just one test match out of nine, the second test of the 1993 series.

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They shipped chastening 3-0 defeats in both 1983 and 2005 and haven't won a series in New Zealand since 1971. An Irish coach has yet to be put in charge of the Lions though Eddie O'Sullivan was an assistant to Clive Woodward on the ill-fated tour of 2005.

On Monday, a seething New Zealand radio host Mark Watson asserted that Ireland's win on Saturday ensured that the Lions would get hammered next year. It also, in Mark's estimation, ensured that Ireland would get hammered in Dublin this month.

By contrast, Clive Woodward insisted that Ireland had uncovered some chinks in the All-Blacks armour and laid down a template which the Lions could use when going about beating the All-Blacks.

The coach was obviously inclined to play up the positive in his comments to the Mail today.

From a Lions perspective, we've got a group of players who've got the monkey off their backs and done it.... It definitely has an impact, just like the victory England had against New Zealand a few years ago. It is about overcoming the first hurdle, and when that happens it can become a habit.

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Conor Neville
Article written by
Perennial finalist in stand-up comedy competitions and former Contract Lawyer/ Coal Salesman with Corless, Corless and Sweeney

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