November deadline for Lions coaching staff
September 4, 2012
Warren Gatland may link up Shaun Edwards and Graham Rowntree once again on the 2013 tour © Getty Images
British & Irish Lions boss Warren Gatland wants his coaching team in place before the start of the autumn internationals.
The autumn Tests start on November 10 and by that time Gatland wants his backroom staff settled so that they can take full advantage of seeing the potential Lions candidates on show. Gatland admitted that he was keen on "some continuity from the last tour" which may lead to Rob Howley, who formed part of the coaching team in 2009 and toured Australia in 2001, getting the nod to join the backroom staff.
However, reports in the Daily Mail claim that Howley may miss out on selection with the Wales Rugby Union keen for him to lead their tour to Japan instead. Other names in the mix include England assistant coach Graham Rowntree, another to have played for and coached the Lions, and long-term Gatland assistant Shaun Edwards. Leinster boss Joe Schmidt is another to have been linked with a role.
And Gatland's immediate priority will be to get his coaching staff in place. "That's a process that starts now," Gatland said. "I will start in the next few weeks talking to people and hopefully putting a list together of names.
"Then John [Feehan, CEO of the Lions] needs to approach them individually to get their release either from the Unions or from the clubs. The time frame for that is to ideally have the backroom in place and appointed before the autumn series. Then we can sit down as a group and start planning a possible Lions team, before the autumn series, during the autumn series, then meeting before the Six Nations and post the Six Nations. If we can get those people in place before the autumn series then that'd be ideal."
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