Graham Rowntree and Neil Jenkins added to Lions coaching staff

Jack Austin
The Independent
Rowntree was one of Gatland's three assistants on the 2013 tour: Getty
Rowntree was one of Gatland's three assistants on the 2013 tour: Getty

Warren Gatland has added Graham Rowntree and Neil Jenkins to his Lions coaching team for the tour of New Zealand this summer.

Both men served on the staff of the unsuccessful 2009 tour in South Africa and the winning 2013 team four years later in Australia, when Gatland was head coach last time.

Rowntree and Jenkins have been on four Lions tours between them as players and join Gatland’s three assistants of Steve Borthwick, Andy Farrell and Rob Howley, who were announced in December of last year.

Gatland said: “We all know what Neil and Graham bring - a huge amount of knowledge, experience and expertise at club [level], international [level] and eight Lions Tours between them. They understand what it will take to win in New Zealand and to have them on board again is positive.

“I know Graham and Steve will complement each other and Neil will give us valuable backs and skills support.

“Given the schedule, with two games a week, having six coaches will allow us to devote enough time to ensuring we are successful.”

Rowntree, who was sacked as England forwards coach following Eddie Jones’ appointment after the disappointing World Cup in 2015, has been working with Harlequins and said he was grateful for the chance to go on tour again.

“I am honoured to be asked to tour with the British and Irish Lions again and I really am thankful to Harlequins, John Kingston and David Ellis for allowing me to go,” he said.

Jenkins will act as kicking coach, as he does for Wales (Getty)
Jenkins will act as kicking coach, as he does for Wales (Getty)

“Having experienced the highs and the lows of the Lions as a player and a coach, I know how special it is.

“This year will be the ultimate challenge considering the form that New Zealand have been in across the last decade, but looking at the talent and potential in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, it is a hugely exciting opportunity for us to do something incredible.

“I am grateful and excited for the opportunity ahead, but my attention will firmly remain on Harlequins until the conclusion of our season.”

Meanwhile, Jenkins, who has been Wales' skills coach since 2004 with a particular remit for goal-kicking, said: "I am excited to be joining up with a very experienced, successful coaching team for what is going to be a huge challenge against the world champions."

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