Borthwick, Farrell, Howley to help Gatland on '17 Lions tour

DUBLIN (AP) Steve Borthwick, Andy Farrell, and Rob Howley were confirmed as assistant coaches to Warren Gatland on Wednesday for the British and Irish Lions rugby tour next year of New Zealand.

All three were widely expected to be chosen.

Farrell and Howley worked under Gatland on the successful tour of Australia in 2013.

Borthwick has impressed as the forwards coach for an England side which has completed an unbeaten year.

Farrell was a former England assistant who was hired this year as the defence coach for Ireland. The Irish beat South Africa, New Zealand, and Australia in a calendar year for the first time.

Howley was the attack coach at Wales, which he has interim control of while Gatland was on Lions duty. Howley will undertake his fifth Lions tour, his third as a coach.

Gatland said at a news conference he wasn't ruling out adding to his staff, but he described the trio as his ''core coaching team.''

''I said from the outset it was important to have continuity because we need to hit the ground running, given the limited preparation time,'' Gatland said.

''In Rob and Andy, we have guys who understand the Lions concept, have worked together, and know how to coach a winning Lions team.

''It's also important to have some new input. Steve has done a great job in shaping the England pack, and played a major role in their recent run of success.''

The trio will work with their respective teams during the Six Nations in February and March, then join the Lions before the squad announcement on April 19. The Lions management team will be announced in early January.