Iain Henderson accuses Warren accuses Gatland of picking his Lions 'favourites'

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irishrugbyua
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Iain Henderson accuses Warren accuses Gatland of picking his Lions 'favourites'

Post by irishrugbyua »

Iain Henderson, the British and Irish Lions lock, has openly suggested that Lions head coach Warren Gatland opted to pick preferred players over those who were in form during the tour of South Africa this summer.

Henderson cited the late addition to the touring squad of Northampton and England forward Courtney Lawes as an example, with Lawes recovering from a pectoral injury which had kept him out since March to make the squad.

Lawes went on to start in all three Tests in the series with the Springboks. Henderson, selected by Gatland for the past two Lions tours, was not included in the Test squad in South Africa, as was the case four years earlier in New Zealand.

Maro Itoje and Alun Wyn Jones started all three Tests for the Lions in the second row, with Lawes at blindside flanker. Tadhg Beirne and Adam Beard were used as lock replacements during the Test series, ahead of Henderson.

"I would tend to agree with that statement [about Gatland picking favourites over form]," Henderson explained, speaking to BBC Radio Ulster.

"A bit of evidence from it maybe would be Courtney Lawes, for example. He hadn't played a lot of rugby, and was injured going in [to the tour], missed a lot of rugby and came in - as a bit of a surprise, maybe - and started all three Tests.

"Don't get me wrong, I think Courtney is a class player and he probably deserved to be playing, but that would lead you to believe that he probably wasn't picking who was in form at that stage."

Henderson also called into question the Lions' tactical approach following the kick-heavy Test series, which was maligned by supporters and pundits alike. The 63-cap lock added that adopting a similar approach to South Africa merely played into the world champions' hands.

"You could play South Africa's game-plan against the Sharks or someone like that and whenever you get however many points up, you're winning the 50-50s, the slap-downs become a 50m try and all of a sudden people go 'well they're playing free-flowing rugby today'," Henderson said.

"Before you know it, you're trying to beat South Africa at their own game. South Africa just won a World Cup doing their own game. They're incredible at it. Falling into what they're incredibly good at I think is something a team probably shouldn't try to do playing a team like that."
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Re: Iain Henderson accuses Warren accuses Gatland of picking his Lions 'favourites'

Post by The Sun God »

irishrugbyua wrote: Thu Sep 23, 2021 10:30 am Iain Henderson, the British and Irish Lions lock, has openly suggested that Lions head coach Warren Gatland opted to pick preferred players over those who were in form during the tour of South Africa this summer.

Henderson cited the late addition to the touring squad of Northampton and England forward Courtney Lawes as an example, with Lawes recovering from a pectoral injury which had kept him out since March to make the squad.

Lawes went on to start in all three Tests in the series with the Springboks. Henderson, selected by Gatland for the past two Lions tours, was not included in the Test squad in South Africa, as was the case four years earlier in New Zealand.

Maro Itoje and Alun Wyn Jones started all three Tests for the Lions in the second row, with Lawes at blindside flanker. Tadhg Beirne and Adam Beard were used as lock replacements during the Test series, ahead of Henderson.

"I would tend to agree with that statement [about Gatland picking favourites over form]," Henderson explained, speaking to BBC Radio Ulster.

"A bit of evidence from it maybe would be Courtney Lawes, for example. He hadn't played a lot of rugby, and was injured going in [to the tour], missed a lot of rugby and came in - as a bit of a surprise, maybe - and started all three Tests.

"Don't get me wrong, I think Courtney is a class player and he probably deserved to be playing, but that would lead you to believe that he probably wasn't picking who was in form at that stage."

Henderson also called into question the Lions' tactical approach following the kick-heavy Test series, which was maligned by supporters and pundits alike. The 63-cap lock added that adopting a similar approach to South Africa merely played into the world champions' hands.

"You could play South Africa's game-plan against the Sharks or someone like that and whenever you get however many points up, you're winning the 50-50s, the slap-downs become a 50m try and all of a sudden people go 'well they're playing free-flowing rugby today'," Henderson said.

"Before you know it, you're trying to beat South Africa at their own game. South Africa just won a World Cup doing their own game. They're incredible at it. Falling into what they're incredibly good at I think is something a team probably shouldn't try to do playing a team like that."
Can't argue too much with any of that.
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Re: Iain Henderson accuses Warren accuses Gatland of picking his Lions 'favourites'

Post by eldanielfire »

Actually this is probably the first Gatland Lions tour where he didn't pick his favourites. It's clear it was picked tactically from Townsend's game plan with nimble fast backrowers, locks who can play 6 etc. No Jon Davies at all, Josh Adams not really given a test chance etc confirms this.

I also wouldn't call putting a bolter like Lawes whose physical abilities and lineout ability are long stablished to face a saffer side known for physicality and good lineouts at the time.

It certainly wasn't a side of Gatland's usual favourite players.
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Re: Iain Henderson accuses Warren accuses Gatland of picking his Lions 'favourites'

Post by ChipSpike »

I'd just about forgotten that tour. Thanks Iain.
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Re: Iain Henderson accuses Warren accuses Gatland of picking his Lions 'favourites'

Post by PornDog »

The only thing controversial in that is the title - hardly an accusation, merely he broadly agreed with the point.

The much more valid accusation, which he did make, was regarding the god awful tactics for which the entire coaching team deserves to be hung, drawn and quartered. I have sympathy for the reduced number of games and the whole COVID thing, but good lord jeebus nothing excuses the turgid awfulness they served up!

Tarnishes the reputation of all of them!
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Re: Iain Henderson accuses Warren accuses Gatland of picking his Lions 'favourites'

Post by DeDoc »

PornDog wrote: Thu Sep 23, 2021 11:02 am The only thing controversial in that is the title - hardly an accusation, merely he broadly agreed with the point.

The much more valid accusation, which he did make, was regarding the god awful tactics for which the entire coaching team deserves to be hung, drawn and quartered. I have sympathy for the reduced number of games and the whole COVID thing, but good lord jeebus nothing excuses the turgid awfulness they served up!

Tarnishes the reputation of all of them!
Agree with the above.
Hard for coaches to be fair - a composite squad and very few games to let players play their way in or out. Lawes didn't have form coming in, due to injury. Henderson did. Gatland went with the former and got repaid with a great performance in the first test. But Henderson's point isn't invalidated by that - for all we know he might have played a blinder had he been selected.
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Re: Iain Henderson accuses Warren accuses Gatland of picking his Lions 'favourites'

Post by You can call me Bill »

Definitely have some sympathy for Henderson.

Didn't realise he never made the test squad in NZ. He played superb in some of the provincial games. Didn't even get a look in this tour. Him against Etzabeth would have been quality.
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Re: Iain Henderson accuses Warren accuses Gatland of picking his Lions 'favourites'

Post by Duff Paddy »

The Boks are shit and Gatland completely blew it. Playing AWJ for fudge sake what a joke
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Re: Iain Henderson accuses Warren accuses Gatland of picking his Lions 'favourites'

Post by Skiaddict »

Iain wins the "Captain Obvious" award. Of course he did, as do all coaches under the reason of selections for the importance of "intangibles" or "chemistry". The results speak for themselves and hopefully Gats will not coaching the Lions again.
If he had selected on form, Russell & Smith would have been the only ones playing 10, Hogg would have been on the practice side and Jones would have been an assistant coach.
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Re: Iain Henderson accuses Warren accuses Gatland of picking his Lions 'favourites'

Post by Dozy »

eldanielfire wrote: Thu Sep 23, 2021 10:50 am Actually this is probably the first Gatland Lions tour where he didn't pick his favourites. It's clear it was picked tactically from Townsend's game plan with nimble fast backrowers, locks who can play 6 etc. No Jon Davies at all, Josh Adams not really given a test chance etc confirms this.

I also wouldn't call putting a bolter like Lawes whose physical abilities and lineout ability are long stablished to face a saffer side known for physicality and good lineouts at the time.

It certainly wasn't a side of Gatland's usual favourite players.
This. Gats would have won the series with more Welsh. His reluctance to pick Welsh because of the reaction is what lost the series..
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Re: Iain Henderson accuses Warren accuses Gatland of picking his Lions 'favourites'

Post by terryfinch »

A bit “he didn’t pick me, wwwhhhhaaaaa!!!!”, but he’s right about Gatland’s tactics.
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Re: Iain Henderson accuses Warren accuses Gatland of picking his Lions 'favourites'

Post by Duff Paddy »

I would tend to agree with that statement [about Gatland picking favourites over form]," Henderson explained, speaking to BBC Radio Ulster.

"A bit of evidence from it maybe would be Courtney Lawes, for example. He hadn't played a lot of rugby, and was injured going in [to the tour], missed a lot of rugby and came in - as a bit of a surprise, maybe - and started all three Tests.
He was asked to comment on a statement and he gave an honest answer. Fair play. Worst Lions tour of all time.
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Re: Iain Henderson accuses Warren accuses Gatland of picking his Lions 'favourites'

Post by eldanielfire »

terryfinch wrote: Thu Sep 23, 2021 2:34 pm A bit “he didn’t pick me, wwwhhhhaaaaa!!!!”, but he’s right about Gatland’s tactics.
The Gatland tactics thing, it wasn't dissimilar to what Eddie Jones did in the last 6 Nations. It looks to me like some weird bubble Rugby thinking went around, that the next tactical evolution was going to be fats paced like Seven's, fast flankers on the wings, locks for blindsides etc. So much so Eddie Jones hired a Sevens attack coach with little XVs experience. But in both cases it clearly didn't work and to me I thought the flaws where obvious and glaring. England just went side to side with no penetration all 6 Nations and did shite. The Lions pretty much the same.

It reminds me of Gatland's "rucks in the wrong places" era of rugby. I think some coaches in Rugby can some wrong guesses at the tactical evolution of games because their desperate to get ahead. Gatland is oen of these. In this case some coaches looked at Sevens, got fixated on it and thought "That is the future". Which is weird, Sevens is a newer version of the game, I'd think the tactical side (besides the fact it's got 7 players on the pitch) is likely to be behind XVs, not ahead.
Last edited by eldanielfire on Thu Sep 23, 2021 9:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Iain Henderson accuses Warren accuses Gatland of picking his Lions 'favourites'

Post by eldanielfire »

Duff Paddy wrote: Thu Sep 23, 2021 2:47 pm
I would tend to agree with that statement [about Gatland picking favourites over form]," Henderson explained, speaking to BBC Radio Ulster.

"A bit of evidence from it maybe would be Courtney Lawes, for example. He hadn't played a lot of rugby, and was injured going in [to the tour], missed a lot of rugby and came in - as a bit of a surprise, maybe - and started all three Tests.
He was asked to comment on a statement and he gave an honest answer. Fair play. Worst Lions tour of all time.
Forgotten 2005 already?
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Re: Iain Henderson accuses Warren accuses Gatland of picking his Lions 'favourites'

Post by eldanielfire »

Duff Paddy wrote: Thu Sep 23, 2021 1:20 pm The Boks are shit and Gatland completely blew it. Playing AWJ for fudge sake what a joke
I's say playing wingers and especially Full Backs who couldn't catch the f**king ball was his worst decision.
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Re: Iain Henderson accuses Warren accuses Gatland of picking his Lions 'favourites'

Post by iarmhiman »

eldanielfire wrote: Thu Sep 23, 2021 9:29 pm
Duff Paddy wrote: Thu Sep 23, 2021 1:20 pm The Boks are shit and Gatland completely blew it. Playing AWJ for fudge sake what a joke
I's say playing wingers and especially Full Backs who couldn't catch the f**king ball was his worst decision.
AWJ was a ruck inspector. Should never have been started.
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Re: Iain Henderson accuses Warren accuses Gatland of picking his Lions 'favourites'

Post by eldanielfire »

iarmhiman wrote: Thu Sep 23, 2021 9:31 pm
eldanielfire wrote: Thu Sep 23, 2021 9:29 pm
Duff Paddy wrote: Thu Sep 23, 2021 1:20 pm The Boks are shit and Gatland completely blew it. Playing AWJ for fudge sake what a joke
I's say playing wingers and especially Full Backs who couldn't catch the f**king ball was his worst decision.
AWJ was a ruck inspector. Should never have been started.
Wasn't he top 2 in the tackle sin the first game? and got through some of the most work in the team. Though I never said he should have played either, I didn't think he should have, but he wasn't the biggest problem with the Lions.
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Re: Iain Henderson accuses Warren accuses Gatland of picking his Lions 'favourites'

Post by DragsterDriver »

PornDog wrote: Thu Sep 23, 2021 11:02 am The only thing controversial in that is the title - hardly an accusation, merely he broadly agreed with the point.

The much more valid accusation, which he did make, was regarding the god awful tactics for which the entire coaching team deserves to be hung, drawn and quartered. I have sympathy for the reduced number of games and the whole COVID thing, but good lord jeebus nothing excuses the turgid awfulness they served up!

Tarnishes the reputation of all of them!
Yup the coaches were a pack of wankërs.

Instead of targeting Lawes Hendo should have found his bollox and pointed out that it was AWJ keeping him out the side. The mighty ruck inspector himself. Then I’d have a bit of sympathy.
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Re: Iain Henderson accuses Warren accuses Gatland of picking his Lions 'favourites'

Post by de_Selby »

eldanielfire wrote: Thu Sep 23, 2021 9:28 pm
Duff Paddy wrote: Thu Sep 23, 2021 2:47 pm
I would tend to agree with that statement [about Gatland picking favourites over form]," Henderson explained, speaking to BBC Radio Ulster.

"A bit of evidence from it maybe would be Courtney Lawes, for example. He hadn't played a lot of rugby, and was injured going in [to the tour], missed a lot of rugby and came in - as a bit of a surprise, maybe - and started all three Tests.
He was asked to comment on a statement and he gave an honest answer. Fair play. Worst Lions tour of all time.
Forgotten 2005 already?
At least one side played good rugby then. Also there's the whole fans actually being ah the games thing and way more hype beforehand even if it came to nothing from a Lions pov. I think 2021 being the worst of all time is fair, I've already blocked it out of my memory.
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Re: Iain Henderson accuses Warren accuses Gatland of picking his Lions 'favourites'

Post by booji boy »

Gatland's record with the Chiefs was 0-9 going into this series so a 1-2 series loss to the reigning world champions should be cause for celebration.
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