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Lions will boost Welsh hopes

Lions will boost Welsh hopes

The chief executive of the Welsh Rugby Union believes his country’s large contingent of Lions players and coaches have returned from South Africa all the better for the experience.

The chief executive of the Welsh Rugby Union believes his country’s large contingent of Lions players and coaches have returned from South Africa all the better for the experience.

Wales contributed 13 players to Ian McGeechan’s 2009 Lions, with a further seven WRU employees part of the backroom staff on the 10-match tour of South Africa.

And Roger Lewis is certain that each and every Welsh member of the Lions will now return to national duty as a more accomplished player or coach.

“Our coaches, Warren Gatland, Rob Howley, Shaun Edwards, Neil Jenkins and Craig White and analysts Rhys Long and Rhodri Bown return to Wales richer for the experience of a magnificent tour and our players will stand taller knowing the integral part they played in making it a success,” said Lewis.

“Warren is in buoyant mood, the tour finished on a high with a win over the Springboks and those players, coaches and back room staff who have represented Wales on the tour have done both themselves and their nation proud and learnt a great deal.

“When a rugby man of the stature and experience of Warren Gatland tells you he has been enriched by a tour and it has made him and his colleagues better coaches and his players better players that’s something that should send a shot of adrenalin through the whole of Welsh rugby in expectation of what could be to come.”

Gatland and his fellow Welsh Lions will soon turn their attentions to the start of the domestic season and the autumn internationals against New Zealand, Samoa, Argentina and Australia, with Lewis certain that their memories from their time with the Lions will boost Welsh chances of success.

“Credit must go to the whole of Northern Hemisphere rugby, Ian McGeechan and his team and all of the Lions for what they achieved in that third Test, but the great thing from a Welsh perspective is our squad have an opportunity now to pick up where the Lions left off with a fixture list we have created this autumn which provides top-quality world opposition,” added Lewis.

“The Lions may have lost the series, but they finished with a victory and Warren and his coaches and players are now tasked with continuing that momentum as they build towards kicking off the international season against the All Blacks on November 7.”

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