“It’s interesting because Warren said in 2017 that he was probably done with the whole Lions thing.
“The way things worked out in New Zealand and how he was portrayed as a clown in his own country, I think he was a bit soured by it. He’d been on three previous tours, he’d won in Australia, he was assistant in ‘09, but you know the experience he has and I suppose winning again with Wales in a Grand Slam shows his ability,” Quinlan said.
As of yet, Gatland’s backroom team has not been named and Quinlan speculated whether a few head coaches who will be free agents after the World Cup could join up with the team.
“I wonder will Joe Schmidt come into the reckoning somewhere, or did he come into the reckoning and rule himself out? I don’t know, it’s all speculation. So Warren may have Joe Schmidt involved, Eddie Jones may get involved, who knows?”
The Lions tour to South Africa won’t take place for another two years but there are already a couple of outstanding candidates to lead the team.
“There’s a lot of stuff that’s going to happen. Alun Wyn Jones if it was now. Owen Farrell is the front runner for me because I still think he’s quite young and he’s an incredible player and he’s an incredible leader.”
“He probably has to watch his discipline with the high shots sometimes but a fantastic player and a real resilient tough character,” Quinlan said.
As for Irish candidates, Quinlan picked out one potential bolter for the role of captain in 2021.
“I just think that if James Ryan gets any sort of experience captaining here with the senior team. Ireland have to find a new captain after the world cup and he’d be an obvious candidate.
“I think if a Lions team was picked now, he’s a guaranteed starter. His performance, his work rate, his ability is second to none,” Quinlan commented.
While Quinlan sees James Ryan as a possible Lions and Ireland captain in the future, he doesn’t necessarily think that Andy Farrell should pick the Leinster man as his first captain.
“That could easily be a Johnny Sexton or Peter O’Mahony figure. They’re already there if he wanted to wait.
“Or do you say right this is a four-year-cycle with World Cups, we want to pick someone who will be there for a long time. I wouldn’t rush into it for the sake of it,” Quinlan said.