Gatland delighted with Lions coaching team

Warren Gatland (second left) with members of his coaching staff Steve Borthwick (left), Rob Howley and Andy Farrell (right) following a press conference to announce the 2017 British and Irish Lions coaching staff at Carlton House, Dublin.
Warren Gatland (second left) with members of his coaching staff Steve Borthwick (left), Rob Howley and Andy Farrell (right) following a press conference to announce the 2017 British and Irish Lions coaching staff at Carlton House, Dublin.

Warren Gatland says he is "absolutely delighted" with the quality of his British and Irish Lions coaching team for next summer's tour to New Zealand.

As had been widely expected, England forwards coach Steve Borthwick, Ireland defence specialist Andy Farrell and current Wales interim head coach Rob Howley will join Lions chief Gatland on the 10-match trip.

Confirmation of the trio came at a press conference in Dublin on Wednesday, with Farrell and Howley returning for another Lions expedition after working with New Zealander Gatland during the successful 2013 Australia tour.

Ex-England skipper and current Red Rose forwards coach Borthwick is a Lions newcomer, but he has made a considerable impression during England's spectacular unbeaten revival under their Australian head coach Eddie Jones.

Former England assistant coach Farrell was appointed as Ireland defence coach earlier this year, and he helped oversee a first away victory over South Africa, followed by a stunning success against world champions New Zealand in Chicago before a memorable autumn campaign which concluded with a win over Australia.

Attack specialist Howley, who is currently Wales boss while Gatland concentrates on Lions business this season, makes his third successive Lions tour as a coach, while he also travelled as a player in 1997 and 2001.

Gatland has not ruled out making further coaching appointments- the likes of former England and Fiji sevens coach Ben Ryan and Saracens rugby director Mark McCall have both been linked with roles - but he describes the trio as his "core coaching team".

Gatland said: "Over the next couple of months we want to add some specialist people to the coaching set-up.

"I'm absolutely delighted with the quality we've got here at the moment. There's no rush specifically at the moment. We're just making sure we speak to the right people.

"I am excited about this coaching team.

"I said from the outset it was important to have continuity because we need to hit the ground running, given the limited preparation time. In Rob and Andy, we have guys who understand the Lions concept, have worked together and know how to coach a winning Lions team.

"It's also important to have some new input. Steve has done a great job in shaping the England pack and played a major role in their recent run of success, so I am looking forward to working with him."