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Gatland announces Lions assistants

Warren Gatland has chosen Andy Farrell, Rob Howley and Graham Rowntree accompany him as coaches on the 2013 British and Irish Lions tour to Australia.

Both Howley and Rowntree were on the 2009 tour to South Africa alongside Gatland as assistants to Sir Ian McGeechan, while this will be Farrell’s first Lions involvement.

Their roles have not formally been announced but it is likely that Rowntree will be the scrum/forwards coach, while Howley will likely be in charge of the backs/attack.

Farrell is expected to be the defence coach, making it unlikely that defence guru Shaun Edwards will have any involvement, despite Gatland saying that he would not rule out making further appointments.

It will come as a surprise to many to see Edwards omission, but Farrell’s rise to the top of the coaching world has been meteoric and he is widely respected throughout the rugby community, as shown by Stuart Lancaster’s obvious delight when Farrell decided to leave Saracens for England.

Howley will be involved in his fourth Lions tour after playing in 1997 and 2001 and coaching in 2009, while this will be Rowntree’s third after appearing as a player in 2005 and then a coach just four years later.

The first game is on the 1st June in Honk Kong against the Barbarians, while the Test series begins in Brisbane on the 22nd June.

The Lions will play 10 games on tour, including the three match series and will be based mainly on the east coast of the country aside from one game in the west in Perth.

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