British and Irish Lions: Jason O'Halloran rules out joining Warren Gatland's staff

Jason O'Halloran oversees a Scotland pre-match warm-up last month
O'Halloran will leave the Scotland set-up at the end of the season to join Glasgow

Scotland backs coach Jason O'Halloran has ruled out the possibility of joining the British and Irish Lions coaching team for the New Zealand tour.

O'Halloran held talks with Lions head coach Warren Gatland over the prospect of working with Rob Howley as a secondary attack coach.

But the Kiwi has opted to focus instead on pre-season with Glasgow, whom he will join at the end of the season.

It follows Gregor Townsend's decision to turn down a role on the Lions staff.

The Warriors head coach, who will replace Vern Cotter as Scotland coach at the end of the season, chose to decline Gatland's invitation to join his back-room team in favour of leading the Scots on their summer tour of Australia.

England forwards coach Steve Borthwick, interim Wales head coach Rob Howley (attack) and Ireland defence coach Andy Farrell have already been confirmed as assistants to Gatland for the three-Test tour next June and July.

O'Halloran is thought to have been tempted by the possibility of a role with the Lions, but felt his Glasgow commitments made it an impossibility.

The New Zealander will work under Townsend's successor Dave Rennie at Warriors, but his compatriot's delayed arrival in Glasgow means O'Halloran and fellow assistant Jonathan Humphreys - also making the move from the national coaching staff to Scotstoun - will effectively have to lead the club's early pre-season schedule.

Depending on the progress of his current side Waikato Chiefs, Rennie could be tied up in New Zealand until 5 August when the Super Rugby final is played.

Warren Gatland, Rob Howley, Andy Farrell and Steve Borthwick
Warren Gatland has already recruited his principal three assistant coaches for the Lions

Gatland spoke on Tuesday about the importance of having a Scottish coach on his staff next summer, and hinted that a lack of Scottish representation could negatively impact their players' chances of making his squad to take on the All Blacks.

"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 BBC Wales.

"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."

With Townsend rejecting an offer to join the tour and O'Halloran ruling himself out of contention, that possibility now appears remote.

Speaking about the possibility of adding further specialist coaches, Gatland added: "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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