2013 British & Irish Lions
RFU gives green light to Lions for coaches
ESPN Staff
November 7, 2012
The England coaching trio of Graham Rowntree, Stuart Lancaster and Andy Farrell, Scotland v England, Six Nations, Murrayfield, Edinburgh, Scotland, February 4, 2012
Graham Rowntree (left) and Andy Farrell (right) could be part of the Lions' coaching staff © Getty Images

The Rugby Football Union has granted permission for coaches Graham Rowntree and Andy Farrell to link up with the British & Irish Lions next summer if Warren Gatland wants the pair to become part of his backroom staff.

Gatland is yet to confirm who will work alongside him on the Lions' tour of Australia in 2013 but Wales coaches Rob Howley and Shaun Edwards alongside England's Rowntree and Farrell and Leinster's Joe Schmidt have all been linked with a spot on the tour. And if Gatland is keen on recruiting either Rowntree or Farrell, then RFU CEO Ian Ritchie has confirmed that the organisation will not stand in the their way.

"Our view is that it is still an honour to be asked to be involved with the Lions, we would regard it as such," Ritchie said. "I don't see it as a negative. I see it very much as a positive. We want to support the Lions, we are one of the shareholders in the Lions, so why wouldn't we?

"Of course it has some difficulties in terms of the summer tour in Argentina but we would deal with that, depending on who it is and how we address it. You have to see it as an opportunity. Not only is it an honour but you would believe they would learn a lot in those situations and it gives us an opportunity to broaden our horizons."

Rowntree worked alongside Gatland on the 2009 tour of South Africa with the pair - along with Howley and Edwards - part of Ian McGeechan's backroom staff. Rowntree is widely regarded to be the favourite to land the forwards coach role while Gatland has recently admitted that Farrell is also on his radar for a backs coach role.

The former Saracens coach has only been part of England's coaching team officially since June but impressed on an interim basis during the 2012 Six Nations. If both Rowntree and Farrell do link up with the Lions then Stuart Lancaster will only have one member of his full-time England coaching staff - Mike Catt - left for their tour of Argentina in the summer of 2013.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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