Bentley urges Lions to pick on form - not reputation
October 22, 2012
Former Lion John Bentley has called on coach Warren Gatland to reward those players in form
Former British & Irish Lions international John Bentley believes reputation should count for nothing when coach Warren Gatland picks his squad for next summer's tour to Australia.
Bentley, a key member of the last Lions squad to claim a series victory over South Africa in 1997, is confident that the elite tourists can repeat that feat against the Wallabies if Gatland gets his selection right.
"Warren Gatland has been proven in the last four years as being a great coach with Wales and he has got the best out of his players, so he is the best man for the job," said Bentley, who started the second and third Tests in 1997.
"The important thing about selecting the Lions squad initially is selecting players who are in form at the time, reputation will count for nothing. He has to pick those who are playing well.
"The Lions comes along only once every four years and they only go to three countries and it will be a great challenge going to Australia. But of the three countries - Australia, South Africa and New Zealand - it's probably the best one to go to to seek that elusive win.
"The important thing is to try and get them to be a team as quickly as possible. In 1997 we became a side, a team, and importantly it doesn't want to be a midweek team and a Saturday team. Ultimately everyone wants to play on a Saturday because that is when the Tests are played."
SSE Rugby Energy is dedicated in helping clubs across England save money on their energy bills. To find how your club can start benefiting from these savings log-on to www.SSErugby.com
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Last year's thrashing at the hands of Wales was not the first time England have fallen to their rivals. Scrum Sevens looks at whether they have bounced back the following year
With just two rounds left in the 2014 championship, the intensity cranks up a notch at Twickenham. Tom Hamilton previews the weekend's action
"I had a perfect record against England as did a few other Welshmen. England always seemed to bring the best out of us." John Taylor on the age-old rivalry
Are the margins between the teams in the Six Nations getting smaller year-on-year? Huw Richards gives some answers