Former British and Irish Lions scrum-half Matt Dawson believes that Warren Gatland is the perfect choice to guide the side to success during the 2013 tour of Australia.
Dawson, who won the World Cup with England back in 2003, thinks that the Wales coach will unite the squad and could be the key to a series victory down under, something those who bet at www.betvictor.com will be keen to discuss.
“I think it’s the right appointment, the Lions committee have absolutely nailed it. Maybe for once in goodness knows how long there’s very little controversy.” Dawson said.
The former England international played in three Lions tours, the first was the 1997 triumph in South Africa under Sir Ian McGeechan and then the losing tours of Australia in 2001 and then New Zealand in 2005.
2001 saw former Wales and New Zealand coach Graham Henry take charge, whilst in 2005 it was the man who guided England to World Cup success in 2003 – Clive Woodward who was given the task of managing the Lions.
Dawson admitted that the unity in the squad was almost non-existent and now Gatland must get the team spirit high if the Lions are to be victorious in Australia next year.
He said: “In 2001 we were struggling because it wasn’t a Lions tour. Whether I was in the midweek or weekend team, you literally wouldn’t see half the other touring party.
“I was in the lift in 2005 in New Zealand where a certain Welsh player of notoriety, I don’t need to go into too much detail, was in the lift with me going down to breakfast asking me what the midweek score was from the night before!”
McGeechan then took charge of his second tour of South Africa in 2009 and although it ended in defeat, the Lions put in much better performances and the Kiwi was part of the backroom staff, so has experience of what these tours are like.
Dawson is now backing Gatland to keep the feel-good-factor going in the Lions squad and is adamant that if anyone can guide the team to success, then it is him.
The Lions will play ten matches in total, which consist of seven tour encounters and then three Test matches against Australia.