The British & Irish Lions are preparing for their tour of South Africa in July. The first question was resolved, which was where the tour was going to take place, if in Europe or the land of world champions, and finally it was already ruled that it will be in last place. Now, Warren Gatland must define his staff and the puzzle is complex.
This will be Gatland’s third tour in charge of the Lions. and having overcome the logistics problems, now they are the problems of the work team. As published The Times, the three assistants left the team: Andy Farrell, Steve Borthwick and Graham Rowntree reportedly said no to the South African tour. All three had been at the Lions’ last presentation in 2017 for New Zealand, with Farrell on defense, Borthwick with the forwards and Rowntree in charge of the scrum.
Gatland was understood to be eager to keep the group together to go to South Africa, but now it seems that New Zealander and kicking coach Neil Jenkins might be the only survivors from the previous tour. They will probably be joined by the Scotland coach, Gregor Townsend, who appears ready to lead the Lions attack.
Townsend will take on the role that Rob Howley held in 2017. Howley’s was embroiled in a scandal during the 2019 Rugby World Cup over a series of bets he made and was later penalized by marginalizing him from the team. He’s under Gatland’s radar if he is available, as he’s an assistant to the Canadian national team and the Toronto Arrows today.
For now, only Jenkins is confirmed, it will be necessary to see in the next few days who will be the ones to accompany Gatland on the tough tour they will have in South Africa where they will face the local team three times.