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Gatland mulls extra attack coach for Lions

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 1/11/2016 Nick Purewal
Warren Gatland © Getty Warren Gatland

Warren Gatland could install two specialist attack coaches to bolster the British and Irish Lions' tour to New Zealand next summer.

Lions boss Gatland has revealed he is seriously considering adding an extra attack co-ordinator to his backroom staff, to be announced on December 7.

The Lions have still won just one tour in New Zealand, in 1971, and Gatland's bid to expand his coaching staff underscores the weight of the challenge of taking on the three-time world champions.

Gatland's deliberations leave the door open for Wales' Rob Howley and Glasgow's Scotland-bound coach Gregor Townsend to double up.

"From a coaching (numbers) point of view, it will be pretty much the same as last time," said Gatland, who led the Lions to that 2013 series win in Australia.

"What I'm actually looking to do is maybe add another attack person.

"The reason for that is to really take some pressure off the coaches.

"I want to be able to give them a day off sometimes or take a bit of a break," he said.

The Lions will open the New Zealand tour by facing a New Zealand Provincial Union XV on June 3 - the weekend after the English Premiership and PRO12 finals.

Former Scotland playmaker Townsend will leave Glasgow to coach Scotland this summer, but could yet be drafted onto the Lions tour.

Gatland has long since come to terms with the scheduling conflicts, but admitted continuity from the 2013 tour could well stand the Lions in good stead next summer.

That brings Andy Farrell and Graham Rowntree into the running to be on hand in his backroom staff.

Former England assistant and now Ireland defence coach Farrell impressed hugely in Australia, and could well tour New Zealand.

Gatland also revealed he is eyeing a playing squad of a maximum of 40 players for the gruelling 10-match, three-Test tour.

"I have kind of got a number in my head; I am thinking of a squad potentially between 38-40, maybe 39," said Gatland, at Canterbury's official British and Irish Lions 2017 jersey launch.

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