Wasps quartet reunite to lead Lions in South Africa

The Wales Rugby Union have been asked if they will release their top three coaches for the Lions tour to South Africa in 2009.

This means that the former Wasps trio of Warren Gatland, Shaun Edwards and Rob Howley could be reunited once again according to a report in the Daily Mail.

The release of the three specialist rugby coaches acknowledges Wales achievement of winning the Grand Slam at their first attempt this year.

A request to release the trio for six weeks at the end of the normal season will be considered by the Welsh Rugby Union’s management board within the next month and is expected to be formally approved soon after.

Even though Wales suffered from releasing their coach Graham Henry in 2001 they are not expected to stand in the way of the Lions and the appointments are expected to go ahead.

The appointment of the three former Wasps as Lions coaches under Ian McGeechan will show just how influential Wasps is in European Rugby.

All four of the coaches have had a major impact on Wasps winning four English Premiership titles and two European Cups – McGeechan as director of rugby, Gatland as his predecessor, Edwards as head coach and Howley as a match-winning scrum half before injury forced him to quit four years ago.

As usual the Lions are keeping things hush but they see Gatland as forwards’ coach, Edwards in charge of defence and Howley working with the backs.

Howley will no doubt be delighted at touring South Africa again because in 1997 he toured under McGeechan but just as he had been seen as the first choice No 9 ahead of Matt Dawson and Austin Healey, a shoulder injury put him out of the entire Test series.

All McGeechan has let out is that he will opt for a streamlined operation based around the elite few coaches which is a big change from his predecessor Sir Clive Woodward who controlled the Lions in 2005.



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