Farrell in the mix for Lions coaching spot
October 31, 2012
Andy Farrell could form part of the Lions' backroom staff © Getty Images
Tour manager Andy Irvine confirmed on Tuesday evening that they hope to finalise the identity of Gatland's backroom staff in the next few weeks with confirmation expected on December 13. Gatland had hoped to announce who will be accompanying him to Australia before the autumn internationals but those plans were postponed partly due to his ongoing treatment for the broken heels he suffered in a domestic accident earlier this year.
Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards, Wales interim boss Rob Howley and England forwards supremo Graham Rowntree have all been linked with a return to the Lions set-up having working alongside Gatland and under Sir Ian McGeechan on the 2009 tour to South Africa and England defence coach Farrell has now emerged as another leading contender.
"People have spoken highly about Andy and he is on a list of guys that I need to finalise and do my homework on," Gatland told The Daily Telegraph. "I am talking to different people to make sure the make-up is right.
"He would be one of the guys on the list but I don't think at the moment there has been any agreement between the unions and the Lions. That is the first process. Once we get that confirmation, then there is the individual confirmation. There is a reasonable way to go."
Farrell previously coached at Premiership side Saracens and formed part of the interim England coaching team under Stuart Lancaster during last season's Six Nations. He originally opted against linking up with Lancaster on a full-time basis but he later had a change of heart and was confirmed as England's defence coach in June.
If Farrell does get the nod alongside Rowntree then England would be left with just Lancaster and Mike Catt ahead of their tour to Argentina in the summer of 2013. But while Gatland will inevitably have a wish list of coaches he would want to work with, he is reluctant to reveal his hand until he has been given confirmation by Lions chief executive John Feehan that the relevant Unions are happy with releasing their coaches for duty.
Gatland added: "There are a number of other people under consideration because there is a potential that the unions say 'these are the guys we want to keep' and they may not be released as well."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Huw Richards assesses where Wales are after a mixed Six Nations, with front row seats still very much available for the World Cup
John Mitchell lapped up the action on 'Sensational Saturday' - but warns not to expect a repeat come Rugby World Cup time later this year
Craig Dowd warns England, Ireland and Wales they should play to their strengths rather than those of the All Blacks and the Wallabies
Tom Hamilton runs the rule over just where the six countries stand ahead of the global gathering in September