Rugby

Jenkins, Rowntree join Lions coaching team

2017-03-16 19:45
Graham Rowntree (Gallo Images)

London - Neil Jenkins and Graham Rowntree have joined the coaching staff of the British and Irish Lions for this summer's tour to New Zealand, it was announced on Thursday.

Jenkins, the former Wales flyhalf, and ex-England prop Rowntree will, along with fellow coaches Steve Borthwick, Andy Farrell and Rob Howley, complete the team headed by Warren Gatland for the three-Test, 10-match tour.

Both Jenkins and Rowntree will be touring with the Lions for the fifth time - twice as players and three times as coaches, including the successful series in Australia in 2013.

"We all know what Neil and Graham bring - a huge amount of knowledge, experience and expertise at club, international and eight Lions tours between them," said Gatland, on secondment to the Lions from his usual job as Wales head coach.

"They understand what it will take to win in New Zealand and to have them on board again is positive."

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

"I believe we have a coaching team that will get the best out of what will be a highly talented and motivated group of players capable of winning the Test series."

Jenkins, who won four Lions caps on top of his 87 Wales appearances, described the call-up as a "huge honour", saying: "The Lions is a special and unique side and I am fortunate to be heading on my fifth tour.

"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.

"I have experienced two series wins, most recently in 2013 and I'm looking forward to getting out on the training pitch and preparing for the challenge this summer."

Rowntree, the 54-times capped England forward who also played twice for the Lions and is currently coaching at Harlequins, called the tour "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."

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