News | 15 Apr 2021

British & Irish Lions coaching line-up announced

All of the coaches for the rugby team’s summer tournament against South Africa, and the reasoning behind their selection, have been unveiled in a video viewable in Vodafone’s official British & Irish Lions app.

Warren Gatland, head coach of the British & Irish Lions, has unveiled his coaching line-up for this summer’s tournament against South Africa.

In a video viewable through the official app powered by Vodafone, Mr Gatland also explains the reasoning behind his coaching choices.

Mr Gatland, along with Emily Scarratt, Paul O’Connell and Sir Ian McGeechan, also spoke about what it takes to be a top rugby coach, how technology affects coaching, and what impact technology will have on the team as it prepares for this summer’s tournament.

The video is the first in a series of ‘Lions Live’ videos available through the official British & Irish Lions app, powered by Vodafone.

Warren Gatland spoke at length about the different qualities each coach will bring, including an insight into Robin McBryde’s more “innovative” coaching methods:

“Over the last 12-13 years he’s developed into such an outstanding forwards coach, he’s so innovative. He does stuff in training like having the music blasting to put the players under pressure, so you’d have three or four seconds to make a lineout call with the music blasting, and trying to get guys communicating with headphones on and the hookers wearing sunglasses so they couldn’t see properly. Just different things that bring a bit of enjoyment and fun, but also challenging people.”

Paul O’Connell revealed how an unlikely pop culture hit helped the team prepare in 2009:

“I don’t think there’s a team you need to be more prepared for than South Africa in terms of tactically what you’re going to do. You need a real plan of how you’re going to beat them on the pitch, but unless there’s a bit of glue holding the players together as well, it’s not going to count for a whole lot, and those days watching the Inbetweeners in 2009 were great for us.”

Emily Scarratt explained that alongside the greater analysis made possible by HD cameras comes the challenge of keeping things digestible for players:

“Simplicity is definitely king. You can get so focused on the detail – and I personally love the detail, I like breaking things down and analysing them to the nth degree – but sometimes there just isn’t time for that, and not everybody understands and works like that.

“In rugby, you’ve got the thinkers and the doers, and I think the doers just need to be told: run there, hit that, or whatever the instruction is, and they’ll go there and do that unbelievably well.”

Rugby fans can also use the official app to create their own Digital Lion avatar. Vodafone is the Lead Partner for the British & Irish Lions, with its instantly recognisable logo appearing on the team’s shirts.

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