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Rory Best: Over reliance on Welsh and Scots suggests bias in Lions selection

By Ian Cameron
Rory Best (c) training with the British Lions

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Former Ireland hooker Rory Best has called for change in how the British & Irish Lions management team is selected to help stamp out any lingering bias in how Test teams are selected.

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Best said it could be argued that the selection of a significant number of Scottish and Welsh players in the Test teams suggests that head coach Warren Gatland and attack coach Gregor Townsend favoured their former and current charges.

Gatland coached Wales for eleven years, while former Scotland standoff Townsend is [obviously] the head coach of Scotland. Steve Tandy, Neil Jenkins and Robin McBryde all hail from Wales.

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Speaking on the RTE’s Game On in Ireland, Best argues that one coach from each nation should be involved.

“I would like to see a British or Irish head coach. I’d also like to see coaches from each of the four nations included in that,” said Best, who amassed 124 caps for Ireland, but who never won a Test cap for the British & Irish Lions despite touring in 2013 and 2017.

“I think it gives you an even spread, it gives you that you treat the Lions with respect. There can be no arguments over selection.

“The problem with this tour, if you were a bit cynical about it, is that there were a lot of Welsh and a lot of Scottish played at times. I don’t think it should be a case of which voice is loudest in the room.

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“It should be an equal balance of that and then pick the best players.”

“With Gregor Townsend having toured with them he’s got to be there. You’d love to see someone like a Rob Baxter, Mark McCall or Andy Farrell.

“These are guys who understand the traditions of the Lions from watching it as kids – Gregor has played on tours.

“It would be someone like that who understands the importance of everything involved with the Lions. Yes, the Test series is what you’re ultimately judged on but you should be internally judged on more than that.

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“There are a lot of strong candidates out there but I would love to see how the next couple of years go for someone like Andy Farrell. Give some of these people a bit of time and see what they do.”

 

 

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