Farrell ascends to Lions staff as Edwards partnership cut short

ENGLAND defence coach Andy Farrell is today set to complete the latest chapter in his meteoric rise by being named a key figure in Warren Gatland’s backroom team for next year’s British and Irish Lions tour.

Gatland is poised to name Farrell alongside England forwards specialist Graham Rowntree and Wales backs expert Rob Howley, who occupied those roles on the 2009 Lions tour, as his triumvirate of management staff for the 10-match tour in Australia.

The surprise victim of Farrell’s inclusion is Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards, who is set to be overlooked despite a decade of working with Gatland at club and international level, winning two Heineken Cups and two Six Nations Grand Slams.

Relative novice Farrell, who only took his first coaching role two years ago, helped Saracens to a first Aviva Premiership title last year before joining England. He has won praise for rebuilding the defence, which performed heroically in this month’s victory over New Zealand.

LIONS 2013 TOUR DIARY

June 1 - Barbarians (Hong Kong)
June 5 - Western Force (Perth)
June 8- Queensland Reds (Brisbane)
June 12 - Combined side of NSW & Queensland Country (Newcastle)
June 15 - NSW Waratahs (Sydney)
June 18 - ACT Brumbies (Canberra)
June 22 - Australia (Brisbane)
June 25 - Melbourne Rebels (Melbourne)
June 29 - Australia (Melbourne)
July 6 - Australia (Sydney)