Gregor Townsend: British & Irish Lions 'would benefit from Glasgow coach's input'

Matt Taylor (left) and Gregor Townsend watch Glasgow's A team match against Canada
Matt Taylor (left) and Townsend have worked together at Glasgow since 2012

Warren Gatland would be making a wise choice if he seeks to get Gregor Townsend involved in his British & Irish Lions backroom staff, says Glasgow assistant coach Matt Taylor.

Townsend was considered a contender for attack coach before it was announced he will become Scotland coach in June.

His availability, with Scotland heading to the southern hemisphere on tour, may potentially hinder his Lions chances.

"Any rugby organisation would benefit from having him involved," said Taylor.

"Gregor is an excellent coach on a number of levels. He is very well planned, he knows the game back to front, he has played at the highest level and he understands players.

"He has been very successful in his areas of attack and the backs.

"You can see the success he has had here in the last number of years and it is probably a big reason why he has got the Scotland job."

Stuart Hogg plays for the Lions in 2013
Scotland full-back Stuart Hogg, the youngest member of the 2013 Lions, is expected to tour again

Taylor was speaking shortly after Gatland was confirmed as Lions head coach for a second time for next year's tour of New Zealand.

He conceded that Townsend, who played fly-half in both victorious Tests in the Lions' series win in South Africa in 1997, "has got a lot on his plate at the moment".

"He's got Glasgow, he's got Scotland coming up," said Taylor. "You'd probably have to ask Gregor, but it's nice to be named in [connection with] such a prestigious rugby team like the Lions."

No more than three Scottish players have been selected in the last four original Lions squads, although four did travel to South Africa in 2009, when Ross Ford and Mike Blair were brought in before the party departed.

Number of Scots in Lions squads - in professional era
19975 +1 replacement
20013 +2 replacements
20053 +1 replacement
20092 +2 replacements before tour began
20133 +1 replacement

Taylor, who doubles as defence coach for Glasgow and Scotland, hopes a number of Warriors will be in contention for next year's tour, with full-back Stuart Hogg, wing Tommy Seymour, centre Alex Dunbar and lock Jonny Gray potential candidates.

"I hope, as both a Glasgow coach and as a Scotland coach, that there are a number of guys in the mix," he added.

"Stuart Hogg went last time. You imagine Jonny Gray, Alex Dunbar, people like that, would be mentioned.

"I hope there would be a number of Scottish players that really push their form. Tommy Seymour's name has also been put out there, so I hope for their sake and Scotland's sake there are a number picked."

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