Henry's Lions warning

Mon, 29 Apr 2013 12:20
Large graham henry presser 630 Large graham henry 630

Graham Henry has warned Warren Gatland that coaching the British and Irish Lions is the "most demanding job in Test rugby".

Graham Henry has warned Warren Gatland that coaching the British and Irish Lions is the "most demanding job in Test rugby" as his fellow New Zealander prepares to unveil his squad for Australia.

Gatland is due to name his party to face the Wallabies on Tuesday, hoping to succeed where Henry failed in 2001 by leading the Lions to a series win in Australia.

Henry, the first foreign Lions boss, made his name in Europe by coaching Wales - the team Gatland is currently seconded from in order to take charge of the combined side.

Twelve years ago the Lions lost a three-match series 2-1 - a defeat Henry, who in 2011 guided New Zealand to a World Cup triumph on home soil, said was down to his mistakes.

"I learned more from that experience as a coach than any other," Henry told Monday's Western Mail, Wales' national daily newspaper.

"I did not do things as well as I should have and made some wrong decisions. If I had got them right, we would have won the series.

"I thought I could do the job but I was green as an international coach then. I now know that the position of Lions head coach is the most demanding in Test rugby," he added.

The Lions, who traditionally tour one out of South Africa, New Zealand and Australia every four years, have not won a Test series since overcoming the Springboks in 1997.

However, Henry was confident that in Gatland, a former coach of Ireland as well as an assistant Lions coach in South Africa four years ago, the combined side had "exactly the right man" in charge to end that losing streak.

"Warren is an outstanding coach with a wealth of experience," said Henry. "He has led Wales to a couple of Grand Slams and they retained the Six Nations this year. I know he was not around but it was his set-up...He understands what the Lions are all about. He is exactly the right man for the job."

In comparison to New Zealand and South Africa, Australia have long been regarded as the Lions' most 'beatable' opponents.

However, Henry warned the 2013 Wallabies would be no pushovers.

"You only have to look at this year's Super 15 to see that Australian players have a different stride," he said. "Their teams have played some exceptional rugby and what everyone should always be aware of is what a Lions tour means to Australia, New Zealand and South Africa."

Sam Warburton has been tipped to be Gatland's Lions captain, even though he apparently declined the honour of leading Wales in their Grand Slam-clinching win over England after being injured earlier in the Six Nations.

Former England and Lions centre Jeremy Guscott, though, has questioned whether flank Warburton, who finds himself battling for a Lions place in what appears to be the most keenly contested area of the squad, had the right credentials to skipper the team.

"Personally, I just don't think Sam's ready to be captain of the Lions," Guscott told BBC Sport. "Warburton is not nailed on to be in that side."

Instead Guscott said Brian O'Driscoll, whose time as the 2005 Lions captain in New Zealand was cut short just minutes into the first Test when the Ireland centre suffered a tour-ending injury following a 'spear' tackle, should lead the Lions this year.

"The stand-out candidate in my view is Brian O'Driscoll because he's been on a few (Lions) tours."

The Lions begin their tour against the Barbarians in Hong Kong on June 1, with the first of three Tests against Australia in Brisbane on June 22.

AFP

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 06 May 2016
Crusaders v Reds 07h35 Christchurch
Brumbies v Bulls 09h40 Canberra
Griffons v Eagles 15h00 Welkom
EP Kings v Blue Bulls 16h00 Port Elizabeth
Sat, 07 May 2016
Sunwolves v Force 05h15 Tokyo
Chiefs v Highlanders 07h35 Hamilton
Waratahs v Cheetahs 09h40 Sydney
Leopards v Boland 12h30 Potchefstroom
Griquas v Border 13h00 Kimberley
Sharks v Hurricanes 13h00 Durban
Pumas v Namibia 13h00 Mpumalanga
Golden Lions v Free State Cheetahs 13h00 Randburg
Wasps v London Irish 14h30 Ricoh Arena
Worcester Warriors v Saracens 14h30 Sixways
Bath v Leicester Tigers 14h30 Recreation Ground
Gloucester v Northampton Saints 14h30 Kingsholm
Harlequins v Exeter Chiefs 14h30 Twickenham
Newcastle Falcons v Sale Sharks 14h30 Kingston Park
Zebre v Dragons 15h00 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Munster v Scarlets 15h00 Thomond Park
Ospreys v Ulster 15h00 Liberty Stadium
Connacht v Glasgow Warriors 15h00 Sportsground
Edinburgh v Cardiff Blues 15h00 BT Murrayfield
Leinster v Treviso 15h00 RDS
Kings v Blues 15h05 Port Elizabeth
Sharks v Western Province 15h30 Durban
B&I LIONS
MORE LOGS