O’Halloran rules out Lions job

Date published: December 14 2016

Scotland back-line coach Jason O’Halloran is not available to be part of the British and Irish Lions coaching staff for their 2017 New Zealand tour.

O’Halloran met with Lions head coach Warren Gatland to discuss the possibilty of working with Rob Howley as a secondary attack coach.

But the former Hurricanes and All Blacks centre has decided to concentrate on pre-season training with Glasgow Warriors, whom he will join at the end of the 2016/17 season.

O’Halloran’s decision comes after Gregor Townsend, who replaces Vern Cotter as Scotland boss at the end of the season, turned down a role as one of Gatland’s assistants.

Instead, Townsend opted to take charge of Scotland’s team on their tour to Australia in June 2017.

O’Halloran’s Glasgow commitments made it impossible for him to accept the Lions job. He will form part of new Warriors head coach Dave Rennie’s backroom staff.

Rennie is still contracted to the Chiefs, however, and could be tied up with his commitments to that team until 5 August when the Super Rugby final is played.

This means O’Halloran and fellow Glasgow Warriors assistant coach Jonathan Humphreys will have to take charge of the club’s early pre-season programme.

Gatland has already recruited Rob Howley (attack), Andy Farrell (defence) and Steve Borthwick (forwards) to be part of his coaching staff but is keen to add a Scotland-based coach as well.

“The ideal scenario from my point of view would be having someone from Scotland to give some representation, to push the Scottish cause, to push some of their players,” he told the BBC.

“That’s important. Someone from within the Scottish system will know their players a lot better than we do, they’ll know the characters and the individuals and potentially push them on a 50/50 decision.

“My ideal scenario would be to have someone from Scotland. If that happens, that would be great.”

But that scenario seems highly unlikely after both Townsend and O’Halloran ruled themselves out of contention.

When asked about the possibility of adding further specialist coaches, Gatland said: “I’ve got one or two people in mind. Hopefully, that can get sorted out early in the New Year.

“I’d spoken to a couple of people originally and they’d made themselves unavailable, which was disappointing but I understand and respect the decisions they’ve made and the focus that they wanted to have.”


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