No place for Edwards in pride of Lions
Rugby:Rob Howley, Andy Farrell and Graham Rowntree have been confirmed as head coach Warren Gatland’s assistants for the British and Irish Lions tour to Australia. There is no place, at present, for Wales defence specialist Shaun Edwards.
Gatland and Lions manager Andy Irvine announced in Edinburgh today that England coaches Farrell and Rowntree and Wales’ Howley will form the coaching team for next summer’s tour. Forwards specialist Rowntree and backs coach Howley were part of the 2009 Lions coaching team in South Africa, while ex-rugby league star Farrell will tour with the Lions for the first time.
Ireland’s logistics officer Gerard Carmody will fulfil the same role with the Lions while Patrick ‘Rala’ O’Reilly has been appointed as baggage master.
Gatland said: “I am delighted with today’s appointments and confident that Rob, Graham, Andy and myself can come together quickly to face one of the hardest rugby challenges. Lions tours are unique as we have to mould together players from four countries in an incredibly short space of time.
“We have no illusion as to the hard work required but we have spoken of the challenges and truly believe that as a coaching team we can provide the players with the support and environment needed for victory in Australia. We will also discuss over the coming weeks the requirement for any further technical assistance.”
Also confirmed today was the appointment of Dr James Robson as leader of the tour medical team. Robson has been the Scotland team doctor since 2002 and next summer’s tour will be his sixth with the Lions.
The tour begins against the Barbarians in Hong Kong on June 1st next year, with the first of three Tests against Australia taking place in Brisbane on June 22. The Lions have not won a Test series since they toured South Africa in 1997.