Wales will benefit from losing Gatland to Lions - Moody

Wales will benefit from losing Warren Gatland to the British and Irish Lions, according to former tourist Lewis Moody.

Gatland is to take a second sabbatical from his role as Wales head coach to lead the Lions into next year's tour to New Zealand, having masterminded the 2013 victory over Australia.

Rob Howley will once again take the Welsh reins in Gatland's absence - his last tenure saw the team lose all of their autumn internationals before bouncing back to win the Six Nations.

Asked by Omnisport whether Gatland's latest break placed Wales at a disadvantage, Land Rover ambassador Moody, who toured New Zealand with the Lions in 2005, said: "Definitely not.

"I think the knowledge you can pick up by dealing with more countries and seeing how other people do things is to their advantage.

"He's got such a good coaching team around him now that those guys should be doing all the work anyway.

"He's merely the figurehead and the manager pulling the strings at the top, without doing him a disservice in any way, shape or form."

With Wales now under Howley's control, Gatland's focus turns to building a team that can guide the Lions to a first series victory over the All Blacks since 1971.

"The interesting question is who Gatland appoints as his coaches," added Moody, who has tipped England lock Maro Itoje as an outsider to take the Lions captaincy.

"There's a number of guys putting their hands up now, not least our English coaches in [Paul] Gustard and [Steve] Borthwick.

"But also you've got [Ireland head coach] Joe Schmidt and Vern Cotter in Scotland, but will they be too big a names for Gatland?

"Or will he stick with his tried and tested Welsh boys?"


***Lewis Moody is a Land Rover Ambassador. Land Rover is a Principal Partner and Official Vehicle of The British & Irish Lions tour of New Zealand 2017. Follow @LandRoverRugby***