6 Sep



Warren Gatland as expected has been named as the Lions’  Coach for their tour to Australia next year.  The former All-Black hooker certainly has all the right attributes for the job having coached in New Zealand, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. He coached Connacht and Leinster before being appointed coach of Ireland on 24 February 1998 following the resignation of former England coach Brian Ashton. Gatland’s tenure as coach of Ireland was not an easy one; he had taken charge of a team that for several years had regularly failed to win more than one Five Nations fixture in each championship. Despite this he had a measure of success, marked by a win in Paris against France for the first time since 1972, when a Brian O’Driscoll hat-trick of tries inspired his country to a 27–25 victory.  However a poor 1999 World Cup campaign in which they failed to make it to the final stages after losing narrowly to Argentina in a play-off game led to him being sacked and replaced by his assistant coach Eddie O’Sullivan in 2001. He joined Wasps in 2002 and took the team from the bottom of the English championship to safety in his first few months. After this he went on to lead them to three consecutive Zurich Premiership titles 2003, 2004 and 2005 and the Heineken Cup in 2004. He returned to New Zealand in 2005 to coach Waikato but returned to the UK in November 2007 to become Wales Head Coach and led his charges to a 10th grand slam in his first season. He led the Welsh team to the the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand last year where they performed with distinction. Following the disappointment of losing to France in a controversial semi-final, his charges then won a second Grand Slam at the being of the year in the Six Nations Championship. Gatland was the forwards coach for the British and Irish Lions on their unsuccessful tour of South Africa in 2009.


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