Farrell and Borthwick in contention to be named new Lions assistant coaches

Former England internationals Andy Farrell and Steve Borthwick look set to be among the assistant coaches announced today for next summer's British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand.

England forwards coach Andy Farrell.

Current Wales interim head coach Rob Howley is also thought to be among Lions head coach Warren Gatland’s choices, while Wales’ record international points-scorer Neil Jenkins is leading contender for the role of kicking specialist.

Gatland, though, might yet spring a surprise in terms of his attack coach options, having previously indicated that he could travel with two people heading up the Lions’ attacking strategy.

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“It is another important step on the road to New Zealand,” tour manager John Spencer said.

Gregor Townsend had been firmly in the frame, but he takes over from Vern Cotter as Scotland head coach at the end of this season and will lead their summer tour of Australia. Rumours have been rife in the last few days that Gatland could bolster his staff with another big-hitter.

Former England and Fiji sevens coach Ben Ryan is possibly on the radar, while Saracens’ trophy double-winning rugby director Mark McCall also has many admirers. Ryan is regarded as an innovative rugby thinker, establishing himself as England’s most successful sevens coach in history before taking charge of Fiji and leading them to world series glory and then capturing Olympic gold in Rio four months ago.