Leinster scrum half Jamison Gibson-Park has told The Rugby Pod he ranks Stuart Lancaster as the best coach he has ever played under.
The 26-year-old has been with the Irish province since 2016, working with the former England head coach for the vast majority of his time there, and it is quite the compliment considering some of the other coaches he has worked with.
Gibson-Park played under Sir John Kirwan at the Blues, Jamie Joseph for the Maori All Blacks and won the Super Rugby title with the Hurricanes when Northampton-bound Chris Boyd was in charge but he rates Lancaster above all of them.
“Stu has without a doubt been the best coach I’ve had. I’m in my sixth year of professional rugby now and he’s without a doubt the best I’ve had,” he told The Rugby Pod.
“He’s so good at improving the whole squad. There are guys that weren’t playing at the weekend but he’s always trying to help them.
“He drives very high standards in training and he tries to connect a bit more on a personal level I think, which is massive for some guys. When the coach is paying you a bit more attention you tend to listen more.
“Aside from the set piece attack, he is all over the attack and he works on the defence as well so he does the whole shebang.”
The Leinster squad have renamed their Tuesday sessions ‘Stuesday’ because they are led by Lancaster and Gibson-Park told Andy Goode and Jim Hamilton on the podcast that the players were shocked by how hard work they were initially.
“He likes it to be uncomfortable for us so that come game time we’re ready to go,” he said.
“It is pretty difficult. Certainly when Stu first showed up it blew the boys away a bit because we weren’t used to that intensity in training but he’s been here 18 months or so now and it has just become the normal thing and I suppose you see that on the pitch with how fit the guys are and how comfortable we are in chaos.”
Gibson-Park started as Leinster beat Scarlets 38-16 on Saturday to reach the Champions Cup final in Bilbao next month and he added that it was the best performance he has ever been a part of.
“It’s certainly the best team performance that I’ve had the pleasure of being a part of. It was a pretty special day and now we’re looking forward to the big one.”
Watch the full video below to hear him discuss the differences between Super Rugby and the Champions Cup, analyse whether Beauden Barrett or Johnny Sexton is better and talk about the possibility of playing for Ireland in 2019…
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