Rugby: Three assistant coaches for Lions tour

British and Irish Lions team head coach Warren Gatland (2ndL) walks his assistant coaches Andy Farrell(L),Graham Rowntree (2ndR) and Rob Howley after their press conference for their tour to Australia in 2013 in South Queensferry, Scotland. REUTERS/David Moir
British and Irish Lions team head coach Warren Gatland (2ndL) walks his assistant coaches Andy Farrell(L),Graham Rowntree (2ndR) and Rob Howley after their press conference for their tour to Australia in 2013 in South Queensferry, Scotland. REUTERS/David Moir

British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland has named Rob Howley, Graham Rowntree and Andy Farrell as his assistants for next year's tour of Australia.

Gatland has overlooked his Wales assistant Shaun Edwards, who was a member of the coaching staff for the 2009 Lions tour of South Africa along with Welsh attack coach Howley and England forwards coach Rowntree.

Farrell, who has been in charge of England's defence and backs since June, will be making his first Lions tour.

"I am delighted with today's appointments and confident that Rob, Graham, Andy and myself can come together quickly to face one of the hardest rugby challenges," Gatland told a news conference in Edinburgh.

"Lions' tours are unique as we have to mould together players from four different countries in an incredibly short space of time."

Gatland said he was relishing the chance to work with Farrell, a dual rugby union and league international.

"To be honest, picking Andy is a bit of a selfish appointment. It gives me the chance to work with someone with fresh ideas who I haven't worked with before. It will enable me to develop and look at the game differently as well," Gatland said.

WORK ETHIC

England head coach Stuart Lancaster sent his congratulations to Rowntree and Farrell and said the appointment of his two England assistants was a testament to their work ethic.

"I am delighted for Andy and Graham. They have worked hard to achieve this honour and it is a credit to them, the England team and the RFU that they have been asked to coach the best players from the Home Unions. We wish them and the Lions every success," Lancaster said in an Rugby Football Union statement.

England will have five representatives in the Lions coaching and management teams including senior physiotherapist Phil Pask, national fitness coach Paul Stridgeon and senior England teams media manager Dave Barton.

The Lions begin the tour with a match against the Barbarians on June 1 in Hong Kong before travelling to Australia where they play five warmup matches ahead of the first of three tests against the Wallabies.

The Welsh Rugby Union said Robin McBryde would act as interim coach during Wales's two-test tour of Japan next year.