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Lions hero Gatland could pay price for Welsh favouritism

| 08.07.2013

Warren Gatland oversaw the British and Irish Lions first Tour win in over 16 years, but after a dramatic conclusion to a fantastic Tour of Australia attention has already turned to 2017 and New Zealand.

The Wales coach undoubtedly did a splendid job, making vital decisions in the final Test, axing key men such as Brian O’Driscoll as the Lions roared to an emphatic 41-16 success against the Wallabies.

The 49-year-old is 7/1 to lead the men in red in his home country, which looks an intriguing price when it is considered that Gatland has already admitted he would be keen to take up a second term at the head of the coaching staff.

However, his decision to field 10 Wales players in the starting 15 in the third Test may have left a sour taste in the mouths of some high up in the Lions hierarchy.

The group is supposed to embrace four nations coming together to represent British rugby and overcome the southern hemisphere’s greatest players.

Opting to go with what he knew may mean that Gatland will not be granted the opportunity to spearhead the troops when they face the All Blacks.

England coach Stuart Lancaster is the man being touted to bring a more balanced dynamic to the touring party at 4/1.

The former Leeds Carnegie Director of Rugby has made a meteoric rise from his role in Yorkshire, which he departed in 2008 to take up the role as the English Elite Rugby Director before being handed the reigns of the Red Rose in 2011.

Originally appointed on an interim basis after a weak World Cup showing in 2011, Lancaster opted to rid the squad of the old guard and appointed the youthful Chris Robshaw as his captain.

The 43-year-old has been heavily responsible for developing the careers of Lions heroes Owen Farrell, Geoff Parling and Tom Youngs handing all of them their international debuts.

Attack coach Rob Howley is available at 5/1, but with his only real head coaching experience coming in a caretaker role for Wales due to Gatland’s Lions commitments and poor health, his appointment would be something of a gamble.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.



Aaron Cox

Aaron has written for a number of top-level publications, including FourFourTwo and the Manchester Evening News. As well as being a fanatical Rochdale AFC fan and blogger, he shares a passion for rugby league and golf.