Gat­land names ‘core’ Lions coach­ing team

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

LON­DON: Andy Far­rell, Steve Borth­wick and Rob How­ley will be War­ren Gat­land’s spe­cial­ist coaches for the daunt­ing Bri­tish and Ir­ish Lions tour of world cham­pi­ons New Zealand, it was an­nounced yes­ter­day.

All three were widely touted to be named, es­pe­cially af­ter Ire­land head coach Joe Sch­midt and fu­ture Scot­land na­tional han­dler Gregor Townsend said they wished not to be con­sid­ered. Gat­land, who has been re­placed on a tem­po­rary ba­sis by How­ley as Wales head coach whilst he pre­pares for the tour, said the trio were his ‘core coach­ing team’ though he might add one more to the ros­ter.

“I am ex­cited about this coach­ing team,” said Gat­land, who guided the Lions to a series win over Aus­tralia in 2013. “I said from the out­set it was im­por­tant to have con­ti­nu­ity be­cause we need to hit the ground run­ning, given the lim­ited prepa­ra­tion time.

“In Rob and Andy, we have guys who un­der­stand the Lions con­cept, have worked to­gether and know how to coach a win­ning Lions team.

“It’s also im­por­tant to have some new in­put. Steve has done a great job in shap­ing the Eng­land pack and played a ma­jor role in their re­cent run of suc­cess, so I am look­ing for­ward to work­ing with him,” added the 53-year-old New Zealan­der, whose se­lec­tion of How­ley sees Robin McBryde put in charge of Wales for their tour of the Pa­cific is­lands next year.

Ire­land de­fence strate­gist Far­rell, 41, filled that role on the Aus­tralia tour and has boosted his rep­u­ta­tion as since join­ing the Ir­ish af­ter this year’s Six Na­tions they have beaten all three of the south­ern hemi­sphere heavy­weights-the first team from the north­ern hemi­sphere to achieve that in a cal­en­dar year since Eng­land in 2003.

‘GET ON THE SAME PAGE’

Far­rell said the squad and coach­ing staff would need to be on mes­sage as quickly as pos­si­ble given the size of their task against a team who put to­gether a record 18 suc­ces­sive Test wins be­fore Ire­land sen­sa­tion­ally beat them in Chicago in Novem­ber. “The chal­lenge for us will be to get on the same page as quickly as pos­si­ble, ap­pre­ci­ate fully the dan­ger they pose and find so­lu­tions to their at­tack­ing threats,” said Far­rell, whose son, Eng­land kicker Owen, is likely to be on the Tour as well. How­ley, 46, has been a trusted lieu­tenant of Gat­land’s since be­ing hired as Wales’s at­tack coach when the New Zealan­der took over the na­tional coach role in 2008.

For­mer Eng­land cap­tain Borth­wick’s stock rose on the back of Ja­pan’s im­pres­sive World Cup cam­paign last year when he was the for­wards coach-which in­cluded a vic­tory over twotime world cham­pi­ons South Africa.

The 37-year-old for­mer lock moved to the Eng­land set-up when for­mer ‘Brave Blos­soms’ boss Ed­die Jones took over the reins af­ter the de­par­ture of Stu­art Lan­cas­ter-un­der whom Far­rell was de­fence coach-fol­low­ing a first round World Cup exit.

Jones, with Borth­wick in tow, has since seen the re­vi­talised Eng­land team win 14 Tests in a row.

— AP

DUBLIN: Bri­tish and Ir­ish Lions coach War­ren Gat­land, left, with mem­bers of his coach­ing staff, Rob How­ley, sec­ond left, Andy Far­rell, sec­ond right, and Steve Borth­wick pose for the me­dia fol­low­ing a press con­fer­ence to an­nounce the 2017 Bri­tish and Ir­ish Lions coach­ing staff for next year’s tour of New Zealand at Carlton House, Dublin yes­ter­day.

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