Sunday Mirror


- BY NEIL SQUIRES Sports · Rugby · South Africa · New Zealand · Howley

WAR­REN GAT­LAND has re­jected 2017 as­sis­tant Rob Howley for a po­si­tion in his back-room team for next sum­mer’s Lions tour to South Africa be­cause of his bet­ting ban.

Howley has re­turned to rugby as Canada coach Kings­ley Jones’s No.2 af­ter serv­ing a ninemonth sus­pen­sion for gambling and would be avail­able for the trip.

But Gat­land (left), who lost Howley as his Wales as­sis­tant when he was sent home from last year’s World Cup, will now look else­where.

Lions chief Gat­land said: “He is a great mate and I am de­lighted he got the job with Canada but the last thing you want is peo­ple bring­ing up the

past and tak­ing away from your prepa­ra­tion for the Lions tour.

“That is the last thing I would want, or some­one like Rob would want, to have hap­pen from that per­spec­tive – so that makes it a lit­tle bit dif­fi­cult. It is great for him that he is back in the game and he gets a chance to re-es­tab­lish him­self with Canada un­til the next World Cup.

“He is an out­stand­ing coach and he also un­der­stands mis­takes have been made, but hope­fully he does re­ally well.”

Scot­land head coach Gre­gor Townsend is an al­ter­na­tive but the fact he turned down Gat­land for the New Zealand tour may count against him.

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