Warren Gatland looks set to bolster the British and Irish Lions backroom team with the addition of former England prop Graham Rowntree.
According to ESPN, Rowntree will work in tandem with Steve Borthwick “focusing on the forwards and set-piece”. The appointment is in line with Gatland’s desire for continuity within the coaching set-up, with Andy Farrell and Rob Howley retaining their roles as defence and attack coaches respectively.
The 54 times capped former England international is certainly no novice when it comes to the Lions, having toured twice as a player in 1997 and 2005, and been part of the coaching set-up during the 2009 and 2013 tours of South Africa and Australia.
Although Rowntree’s reputation suffered following England’s 2015 World Cup campaign, he was quickly snapped up by Harlequins after Conor O’Shea’s departure saw the Premiership club rebuild their coaching staff.
After Ireland caused the All Blacks a great deal of trouble at the set-piece last November, there will be a degree of pressure on Rowntree and Borthwick to replicate that success in June.
Alan Drumm, Pundit Arena
On this week’s edition of The Oval Office Podcast, Lee Byrne tells us what’s gone wrong with Wales and how many dragons are likely to feature for the Lions.