Eddie Jones says British & Irish Lions Warren Gatland has made contact with the England coaching staff ahead of next year’s tour of South Africa.
Gatland’s Lions are schedule to travel South Africa for an eight-match tour, including three Tests against the Springboks, kicking off next July.
England were crowned Six Nations champions earlier this year and could win the maiden Autumn Nations Cup if they overcome France in the final on Sunday afternoon. Now Jones has encouraged his assistant coaches to take up positions on the Lions coaching staff if the opportunity presents itself after finding out Gatland had approached the Rugby Football Union about the possibility.
‘There has been contact. Warren has gone round the unions and chatted to the CEOs about potential staff,’ Jones revealed. ‘We are open to any opportunity for our staff and coaches to grow. We will wait and see.
‘We saw the benefits of it with Steve Borthwick going on the Lions tour in 2017 and coming back having added more to his coaching repertoire. We would certainly be open to those ideas.’
According to a report in the Telegraph, forwards coach Matt Proudfoot and defence coach John Mitchell are the ones on Gatland’s radar and both are the frontrunners to take up similar roles within the Lions set-up.
Furthermore, Jones says he wants English players to dominate the Lions squad, setting a target of at least 20 of his players earning selection.
‘We see this Lions tour as an opportunity for us to grow another layer of depth,’ said Jones.
‘It’s an opportunity for some younger guys to gain experience with England and to see whether they can adapt to international rugby. That’s the exciting thing for us.
‘When I say I would like us to have 20 players on the Lions tour, in some ways it is almost selfish because we would like the opportunity to bring younger guys in to create greater depth in the squad.
‘We want to make sure we are the dominant team in Europe and if you are the dominant team in Europe then you dominate Lions selection. That would be a great individual recognition of the players’ efforts.’
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