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Former England internationals Andy Farrell and Steve Borthwick look set to be among

Former England internationals Andy Farrell and Steve Borthwick look set to be among the assistant coaches announced on Wednesday for next summers British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand.Current Wales interim head coach Rob Howley is also thought to be among Lions head coach Warren Gatlands 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.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 Englands 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.Gatlands long-held view is that to have any realistic chance against world champions New Zealand, any opponent must be prepared to play, rather than contain, and it may be that Ryan or McCall fit the bill.Technical and operational staff for the Lions first New Zealand trip since they suffered a painful Test series whitewash in 2005 are set to be announced early next month, with the squad itself due on April 19.It is another important step on the road to New Zealand, tour manager John Spencer told the Lions official website ahead of Wednesdays unveiling in Dublin.The success of any British and Irish Lions tour depends on having a quality coaching group, and we are very confident that the people we will name on Wednesday can help deliver a Test series win.A 10-match tour of New Zealand requires toughness, as well as technical knowledge, and we firmly believe that the characters we have identified as the men to bring on board are exactly what is needed for the upcoming tour.Farrell, 41, enjoyed a glittering rugby league career before switching codes and winning eight England caps in 2007. He went on to become England defence coach, but left that role following last years dismal World Cup showing.He was then appointed as Irelands defence coach, helping to oversee an away victory over South Africa and then a spectacular success against world champions New Zealand in Chicago, before a memorable autumn campaign concluded by Ireland defeating Australia.Farrell was a key part of Gatlands support team during the Lions 2-1 Test series victory over Australia in 2013, while Howley is also set to return for more, having been a member of the coaching staff Down Under three years ago and on the 2009 trip to South Africa.Ex-England skipper Borthwick would be a Lions newcomer, but he has made a considerable impression during Englands revival under their Australian head coach Eddie Jones.Borthwick, who won 57 Test caps and made almost 400 appearances for Bath and Saracens, worked with Jones during Japans memorable 2015 World Cup campaign that included them defeating South Africa, before joining him last December after Jones was appointed as England boss.England went unbeaten in 2016, claiming the Six Nations title in Grand Slam fashion, beating Australia three times Down Under and then winning all four autumn Tests. 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Saracens have bolstered their second-row options with the signing of Wallabies lock Will Skelton on a short-term deal.Skelton will join the Aviva Premiership club with immediate effect, after an agreement was reached with the New South Wales Waratahs and Australian Rugby Union.The club has not specified the length of the 24-year-olds contract but his acquisition plugs the hole created by Allistair Hargreaves retirement in October.Were delighted to be able to bring a player of Wills calibre into the group, Saracens director of rugby, Mark McCalll, said.dddddddddddd?He is an immensely talented rugby player with vast experience for a 24-year-old tight-five forward.Its no secret that we have been running low on a few bodies in the second-row department but we made it very clear that we wouldnt compromise on quality when looking to add to our squad.In Will, we have a player who will certainly have an important role to play in our group over the next few months. ' ' '

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