Gavin Vaughan on dream Lions call-up
With the largest British & Irish Lions playing contingent in over 30 years, and two coaches added to Warren Gatland’s team, Scotland’s representation for the upcoming tour to South Africa is healthier than ever.
And it’s emerged that another of the Scottish backroom staff has been called up, with news that Gavin Vaughan, Lead National Team Performance Analyst, will also join the Lions in an analyst role.
Having worked with Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend for the best part of a decade, and with defence coach Steve Tandy since the start of 2020, Vaughan adds his considerable experience to this year’s Lions contingent as they bid to beat the current world champions in their own back yard for the first time since 1997.
On his appointment, Vaughan said: “I had a bit of a heads-up asking if I’d be interested and I got a call from Warren offering me a place on the tour which was awesome. It’s a dream come true, it’s the pinnacle really and it doesn’t get much bigger.
“I think it’ll be a great learning experience as well, working with different people and some experienced coaches and practitioners. Watching the Lions videos of the past, especially 1997 when Gregor was playing in it, it’s a real privilege and seems so far away from when I was a boy growing up in Wales.”
With eight Scots involved in the touring playing party, Vaughan sees the coming months as an opportunity to add experience against a side that will be coming to BT Murrayfield themselves in November, adding: “You are playing against the world champions in their own back yard so we’ll learn a lot about ourselves, about South Africa who we play later in the year with Scotland, so it’ll be great.
“They all deserve to be on the plane, it would’ve been so hard to get the selection down to 37 because there are so many good quality players around. We had a good campaign in the last 6 Nations and we’ve been building since the World Cup and it’s good for the boys to have that recognition, to work in that setting, and go out and perform.
“I think having familiar faces around, knowing how you work and operate, gives one less thing to think about for the players so they can go out and perform at training sessions and in the games.”
First up for the British & Irish Lions is a one-off game against Japan at BT Murrayfield on Saturday 26 June, a fixture that excites the newly-appointed analyst: “It’s going to be the first Test match with fans for a while and it’s great to have it on home turf before sending the squad off for the series. Not many people can say they’ve seen the Lions play on home soil and for the players’ families and supporters it’ll be special.
“Playing in Edinburgh at BT Murrayfield will be great and set us in good stead for our preparations for a good tour.”