Friday 17 November 2017

Gatland adds Jenkins and Rowntree to back-room team for Lions

Wales’ skills coach Neil Jenkins. Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images
Wales’ skills coach Neil Jenkins. Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images

Duncan Bech

Neil Jenkins and Graham Rowntree have been added to Warren Gatland's Lions backroom team for this summer's tour of New Zealand.

Both were on the coaching team in 2009 in South Africa and for the victorious tour of Australia four years ago, the latter under Gatland, and have been added to the trio of Steve Borthwick, Andy Farrell and Rob Howley who were named in December.

Former Wales fly-half or full-back Jenkins toured as a Lions player in 1997, when he started all three Tests at full-back, and 2001.

Ex-England loosehead prop Rowntree toured as a player in 1997 and 2005, winning two Test caps off the bench against New Zealand in 2005.

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."

Jenkins, 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."

Rowntree, England assistant coach under Stuart Lancaster and now Harlequins forwards coach, said: "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."

Irish Independent

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