Steve Borthwick could take coaching role with Lions this summer

Rugby news round-up: England lock Courtney Lawes to miss rest of Six Nations

Leicester coach Steve Borthwick could be part of Steve Borthwick’s Lions coaching ticket this summer. Photograph:  Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

Leicester coach Steve Borthwick could be part of Steve Borthwick’s Lions coaching ticket this summer. Photograph: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

 

Steve Borthwick is firmly on Warren Gatland’s radar to potentially work with him for the British and Irish Lions this summer.

The former England forwards coach and current Leicester boss is believed to be a leading candidate to be among Lions boss Gatland’s coaching lieutenants.

It is also understood that no formal approaches have yet been made by the Lions to any potential assistant coaches ahead of the Test series against South Africa in July and August.

Ex-England captain Borthwick, 41, was part of Gatland’s coaching staff for the 2017 tour to New Zealand.

The Lions are scheduled to play eight games in South Africa, but the coronavirus pandemic looks like dashing those hopes.

Alternatives include playing the matches on home soil, highlighted by a three or possibly four-Test series against the world champions with Twickenham and Cardiff’s Principality Stadium among the venues, or pursuing Rugby Australia’s interest in hosting Lions fixtures Down Under.

A first home Lions series is looking increasingly likely, though, with talks continuing.

England lock Courtney Lawes, meanwhile, faces being out of rugby for 12 weeks after suffering a pectoral injury. The Northampton forward, who has won 87 caps, was hurt during England training last week.

His Saints team-mate David Ribbans has been called into England’s Six Nations squad to bolster secondrow resources ahead of their remaining games against France and Ireland. Northampton said that Lawes will undergo surgery and he faces an approximate 12-week recovery period.

That would sideline him until late May or early June, meaning he will miss the overwhelming majority of Saints’ remaining Premiership fixtures. Whether it affects his Lions squad selection hopes to face South Africa this summer remains to be seen.

England resume their Six Nations campaign against France on Saturday week, having suffered defeats against Scotland and Wales either side of beating Italy. The English Rugby Football Union said that some of Jones’s 28-man squad “who have received less playing time during the tournament” will be given an opportunity to play for their clubs this weekend.

“This will be an individual decision for each player from a performance perspective and is in line with tournament regulations and Covid-19 protocols,” the RFU said.

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