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RFU give Gatland green light

Warren Gatland has been given the green light to approach England coaches Graham Rowntree and Andy Farrell to form part of the 2013 British and Irish Lions management team.

Rowntree worked with Gatland as part of Ian McGeechan's coaching set-up on the 2009 Lions tour of South Africa and he is widely expected to be involved again in Australia next summer.

Gatland has confirmed Farrell is also on his radar after hearing good reports of the impact he made in such a short time with England during the RBS 6 Nations Championship.

England boss Stuart Lancaster has only just finalised his coaching team, with Rowntree, Farrell and Mike Catt his three senior lieutenants.

But the Rugby Football Union would be prepared make alternative arrangements for England's summer tour of Argentina if any of the coaches were invited to join the Lions.

Gatland is piecing together his management team now, with an announcement expected in the first week of December.

"Our view is that it is still an honour to be asked to be involved with the Lions, we would regard it as such," said Rugby Football Union chief executive Ian Ritchie. "We want to support the Lions, we are one of the shareholders in the Lions, so why wouldn't we?

"Of course it has some difficulties in terms of the summer tour in Argentina but we would deal with that, depending on who it is and how we address it.

"You have to see it as an opportunity. Not only is it an honour but you would believe they would learn a lot in those situations and it gives us an opportunity to broaden our horizons.

"I don't see it as a negative. I see it very much as a positive."

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