Jones: We'll survive Gat's gap year
March 27, 2012
Warren Gatland is set to lead the Lions after his success with Wales © Getty Images
Gatland looks certain to accept the role of coaching the Lions on their tour of Australia in 2013 after being offer the job this week. The Welsh Rugby Union have already agreed to Gatland missing next year's Six Nations, but they are unwilling to release him before Wales' tour of Australia this June.
Whatever the eventual agreement, triple Grand Slam winner Jones believes Wales will continue to progress in the temporary absence of Gatland . Rob Howley and Robin McBryde are the leading candidates to take over as caretaker coach with fellow coaches Shaun Edwards and Neil Jenkins also in contention.
"I don't know exactly what is going to happen to next year," Jones told Walesonline. "They are talking about someone else taking over for the Six Nations.
"I'm not sure it will affect Wales because Rob, Shaun and Robin do a lot of the coaching anyway. Gats is there to sort of oversee things. The structure is in place already and I think it can continue while Warren is away. It's a pretty settled group.
"I suppose Rob and Robin will be the obvious candidates to develop and go on to bigger things when Gats decides to finish. Robin did it before [as head coach in North America] during the last Lions tour and I am sure Rob can do the job."
The tight-head prop toured South Africa with the Lions in 2009 when Galtand was one of head coach Ian McGeechan's assistant coaches. And Jones, who once again played a crucial role in Wales Grand Slam triumph, believes Gatland is the right man to lead the Lions in 2012. Although, he is not expecting any selection favours from his current national coach.
"I guess most of the Welsh boys would be pleased to see him get the job," said Jones. "It's obviously a big help when the Lions coach is from your own country because he's familiar with the players.
"But saying that, there's a lot of good players out there these days in the Six Nations. You obviously need people with strong personalities to go on tour and I don't he'll shirk taking English, Scottish and Irish boys over Welsh ones he thinks are better.
"I think it's a good appointment. He's obviously done it before to a certain extent last time with Geech and I think he enjoyed it."
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