Thursday, 16th March 2017 @ 15:00
Harlequins is proud to confirm today (Thursday March 16th) that Forwards Coach Graham Rowntree has been appointed as Assistant Coach for the British and Irish Lions ahead of their tour to New Zealand this summer.
Confirming the news, Rowntree said: “I am honoured to be asked to tour with the British and Irish Lions again and I really am thankful to Harlequins, John Kingston and David Ellis for allowing me to go.
“Having experienced the highs and the lows of the Lions as a player and a coach, I know how special it is. This year will be the ultimate challenge considering the form that New Zealand have been in across the last decade, but looking at the talent and potential in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, it is a hugely exciting opportunity for us to do something incredible.
“I am grateful and excited for the opportunity ahead, but my attention will firmly remain on Harlequins until the conclusion of our season.”
Capped 54 times by England, Rowntree made his Lions debut during the 1997 Tour to South Africa and toured eight years later in New Zealand.
After retiring from the game, Rowntree toured with the Lions as their Scrum Coach in 2009, and then in 2013 as Forwards Coach during the historic series win over Australia.
Ahead of the 2016/17 season Rowntree was appointed by John Kingston as Harlequins Forwards Coach.
Rowntree and Neil Jenkins will, alongside fellow coaches Steve Borthwick, Andy Farrell and Rob Howley, complete the team headed by Warren Gatland. Rowntree will return to Harlequins following the Tour’s conclusion.
Harlequins Director of Rugby, Kingston added: “We’re delighted that Graham has been selected to help coach the British and Irish Lions this summer, it is a remarkable honour. It shows what great esteem he is held in and how highly regarded he is as an individual and as a coach.
“I have no doubt he will bring his excellent personal and coaching skills to the role and will do Harlequins proud on what, inevitably will be a tough tour.
“I’m looking forward to him sharing the benefits of this experience with the wider coaching group on his return and enriching all of us further as a result.”
Gatland said: “We all know what Neil and Graham bring – a huge amount of knowledge, experience and expertise at club, international and eight Lions Tours between them. They understand what it will take to win in New Zealand and to have them on board again is positive.
“I know Graham and Steve will complement each other and Neil will give us valuable backs and skills support. Given the schedule, with two games a week, having six coaches will allow us to devote enough time to ensuring we are successful.
“I believe we have a coaching team that will get the best out of what will be a highly talented and motivated group of players capable of winning the Test series.”