Warren Gatland the right man for Lions job, says Mark Taylor
WARREN Gatland has been hailed as a great coach whose man-management skills can help the Lions rediscover their long-lost roar in Australia next summer.
The most celebrated rugby tourists will head Down Under not having triumphed in a series in 16 years.
They have appointed serial winner Gatland in an attempt to turn around their fortunes, with the Kiwi having demonstrated his pedigree by overseeing two Grand Slam successes with Wales and a Heineken Cup and three English premiership titles with Wasps.
And according to former Wales centre Mark Taylor, the Lions hierarchy have got their choice spot on.
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"Warren is a great coach," said Taylor, who toured Australia with the Graham Henry's Lions in 2001.
"He has learnt how to manage players, which is a huge thing for anyone in charge of Lions tour party.
"His record with Wales is outstanding and he'd achieved a huge amount even before he took on the Welsh job. He is just a coach who knows how to deliver success.
"It will take a portion of luck to win the series in Australia.
"You look at our tour in 2001 — it came down to an interception try in the second Test and one line-out at the end of the third. At that level, the most minute details can separate teams.
"If you get those details right there is more than enough talent in British and Irish rugby to return home with a series win."
The 2001 tourists may have gone close, losing the series 2-1, but it wasn't a happy trip, with certain players feeling they had been marginalised. "You have to get the culture right off the field," said Taylor.
"In 2001 there was a certain amount of resentment from some of the English boys, who felt Clive Woodward deserved his shot as Lions coach, which perhaps he did.
"We didn't gel as a squad and that is what prevented a winning series. There was that resentment bubbling but that won't be the case next summer. Everyone knows Warren deserves to be there on merit."