Shaun Wane should be Great Britain & Ireland Lions coach
22 November 2018 - Written by Zack Wilson
So the Great Britain and Ireland Lions are going to be making a comeback next year, when they travel to the Pacific.
There, it looks as though they will be facing Tonga, Fiji, Samoa, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, though the schedule is yet to be finalised.
The problem with the return of GB is that too often it has been seen as interchangeable with England, largely because of the personnel selected.
Of course, the important issue is that the team represents all of the countries of Britain and Ireland. That does not mean it needs players from all those countries to be valid, nice as that would be.
But it does need separating from the England team. The Great Britain brand is one that can be sold across the UK and Ireland, and the world, but it needs to be independent of the England team.
There is already enough confusion in Australia about the difference between Britain and England, and it does not need adding to.
For that reason, Wayne Bennett should not be the coach of the Great Britain Lions when they tour next year.
Instead, that honour should go to Shaun Wane.
Wane, who departed his role as Wigan head coach at the end of the club’s triumphant 2018 campaign, is the ideal candidate for the job.
He is a multiple Grand Final winner who has built an indomitable spirit at the DW Stadium, based on local pride and setting the highest possible standards.
He knows how to build teams, how to pinpoint the right personnel and has a fierce sense of self-worth that means he always gives his best.
He also expects the best from all of his players, and the very highest standards of commitment to the cause.
Those are idea qualities for the coach of a touring international team.
Wane has even taken in a wider British perspective in his new role with the Scotland Rugby Union.
Who knows? His new contacts might see a Scottish presence in the squad’s backroom team, which would add some Celtic presence to the squad.
Wane also deserves the honour, after all of his achievements in the domestic game.
He has been one of the Super League era’s outstanding coaches, and to see him lead the Lions would be tremendous.
Who knows? Ben Flower, Regan Grace and a few others might find it hard to turn down international call-ups if Shaun Wane and Lions came calling.