Politicians call for Lions coach Warren Gatland's knighthood

Warren Gatland takes the congratulations of Lions fans after the deciding Test in Sydney
Image caption Warren Gatland takes the congratulations of Lions fans after the deciding Test in Sydney

Two rugby-mad Welsh politicians have called for winning British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland to be given a knighthood.

Conservative MP Glyn Davies and Plaid Cymru AM Dafydd Elis-Thomas said the New Zealander deserved the award after the 2-1 Test series win in Australia.

Mr Davies told BBC Sunday Politics: "Sir Warren Gatland it definitely has to be".

Lord Elis-Thomas said Gatland and the team should be "properly recognised".

The Lions, guided by Wales coach Gatland, beat the Wallabies 41-16 in the deciding third Test to win the series.

Mr Davies, the MP for Montgomeryshire, said: "I watched it twice - live in the morning and again later - but at the beginning of the second half I thought 'oh no, here we go again' but then we had an absolutely magnificent 20 minutes of rugby.

"The match was fantastic, I still haven't recovered - Sir Warren Gatland it definitely has to be."

'Loved it'

Mr Davies, as a former AM, was one of the founders of the assembly's rugby team.

He did some training with Jonah Lomu after recovering from stomach cancer and went on to play for the assembly team again.

Lord Elis-Thomas called the Lions' Australian tour an amazing series.

"Carwyn James (who coached the Lions to the 1971 series win over the All-Blacks) was one of the great mentors in my life in so many ways and he would have loved it," he said.

He added that he had been wearing a Welsh Lions tie for all the games and would continue wearing it until "Sir Warren Gatland and all the rest of the team" were properly recognised.

Shadow Welsh Secretary and Pontypridd MP Owen Smith also called for Gatland to get recognition, however he said: "A knighthood for Warren Gatland wouldn't be sufficient - only canonisation would do!"

First Minister Carwyn Jones added his congratulations for a " tremendous act of achievement," which summed up "a very hard fought and well-deserved series win".

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