Congratulations to the Leaders we deserve brainstrust whose members pinpointed Ireland’s O’ Connell as Lions captain and also suggested most of the squad
Now to identify the leadership challenges facing O’Connell and the entire touring party
Lions tours are notoriously difficult to manage. Signals of possible friction points have begun to emerge as national heroes are left behind. Irish players have earned their places with monster six-nations performances. In contract Scotland had a woeful competition. That hasn’t stopped Scottish journalists being peeved over the tiny number of Scots in the quad. The English have similar gripes as they have a historically low number of squad members. Welsh comment is mixed. There is a healthy representation from Wales. But there is disappointment that Ryan Jones is one of several national captains left behind. In Wales there is also some bitterness over what they see as a potential re-run of the Graham Henry time as Lions coach and Wales National manager. This time it’s another Kiwi, Warren Gatland, again Wales national coach also coaching for the Lions.
The story goes that by the time the last Lions tour was over, Henry had lost the trust of key Welsh players and it carried over into subsequent national team performances. There is worry the same thing might happen in South Africa. To get some idea, you might like to think of the expectations at Newcastle Football Club, and the heights and lows as each possible saviour fails to ‘guide them to the promised land’.
So here are a few leadership questions
I realize that much will be forgiven a winning team, but I’m anticipating plenty of blame to spread around before the tour is over.
Has ‘the management’ done a reasonable job in selecting O’ Connell and squad? Will potential cultural factionalism play a significant part in events off and on the field? Comments will be incorporated into future blogs.
A Guardian summary of the ‘team picked for toughness’ gives indication of the reasoning behind the selections.