Former Lion Puts Himself Forward To Take Charge Of Next Tour Following Sean O’Brien’s Comments

Would you give him the job?

Sean O’Brien’s comments about Warren Gatland and his coaching team have caused a bit of a stir in the rugby community to say the least.

Gatland is reportedly seeking a meeting with him to clarify why he has made the comments now, rather than during the tour, while Lions CEO John Feehan has released a statement reaffirming his backing of Gatland.

Plenty of former players, fans and pundits have had their say, with many backing O’Brien, believing he’s fully entitled to his opinion. Austin Healey has gone one better, agreeing with most of what O’Brien said, while putting his name forward to take charge of the next tour.

“O’Brien has pointed the finger at two areas where he feels the Lions coaching staff came up short, the first being that the squad’s “triple-session days” in the weeks leading up to the first and third Tests left the players feeling “heavy”, and no wonder.” Healey wrote in his Telegraph column.
“Having those days before the Test is ridiculous. There is no need to overuse the body that close to the weekend.”
“Lions tours are some of the hardest I have ever been on. After 1997, I landed back in the UK and went off on holiday. The first day I slept for 16 hours. You are exceptionally fatigued while on the tour and then at the end of it.”

Healey reckons it’s all down to having a good squad, and they will do the rest. He reckons people need to stop giving the coaches so much credit.

“Honestly, you could pick me as the coach and I would probably do as good a job, if not better, than all of those coaches, provided you have the right squad.”
“Lions tours are about the players, the squad, and a lot of time about the manager. Fran Cotton did about as much as team manager in 1997 to help win the series as the coaching staff, acting as someone to talk to every now and then. People have to stop proportioning such a large percentage of winning or losing a Lions tour to the coaching group.”

He added that we would make the Lions tours all about the players as it should be.

“I won’t be taking 37 backroom staff, instead I would give that funding to grass-roots rugby. I would take the Lions back to what they should be; old-school tours full of fun that are run by the players, who manage themselves.”

You can read Healey’s piece in full here.

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