2013 British & Irish Lions
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 EMEA Ltd
"If there was a cross breed of canine called an Underdogdoodle it would win best in show at Crufts." Mark Durden-Smith looks at the Aviva Premiership Final
With the Lions' tour to Australia fast-approaching, ESPN's Austin Healey and Mark Durden-Smith sat down to share their memories of the 2001 trip Down Under
Ask John answers questions on the Leopards' tour to Italy in 1974, brotherly Test sides, Pat McGrath, England's games against the Barbarians and Jacques Brunel
"We were only five metres away in the last Test of getting that try and with Jonny's inevitable conversion, we'd have won it." Tom Hamilton talks to Lions fullback Matt Perry