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Gatland makes Jenkins his kicking coach

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: April 25, 2013

opportunity  Neil Jenkins.

opportunity Neil Jenkins.

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WARREN Gatland is hoping one of world rugby's greatest goal-kickers can add another major weapon to his armoury for this summer's British and Irish Lions tour of Australia.

Gatland has added Wales kicking guru Neil Jenkins to his back-room team for the trip, with the former world record points- scorer joining Andy Farrell, Rob Howley and Graham Rowntree under the New Zealander's wing.

Jenkins, whose goal-kicking was a major factor in the Lions last series victory in 1997, will perform the role of technical kicking coach, a position he occupied on the 2009 tour of South Africa.

"Neil was one of the foremost kickers in the game, both out of the hand and in terms of goal-kicking, during his career," said Gatland.

"He has been working in the coaching environment in this crucial area with great success in recent years with Wales.

"The tour to Australia will be one hell of a challenge, and we need to ensure that our approach in all aspects of the game is first rate. Tactical kicking, when to kick, how to kick, and of course converting points through penalties and conversions is crucial to on-field success.

"Neil brings extensive knowledge to the squad in this area, and the players can only benefit from this."

Jenkins said: "It is a great honour to once again be part of a British and Irish Lions tour. I am delighted and grateful to have been offered this opportunity to join the 2013 coaching staff.

"As a player I was lucky enough to tour Australia with the Lions in 2001. Like 1997, it was a terrific series, but unfortunately we lost 2-1.

"I have clear ideas of what I would like to contribute, and I cannot wait to get out on to the training pitch and get started."

Gatland is due to announce his squad in London next Tuesday. The Lions face the Barbarians in Hong Kong on June 1, then play nine games in Australia, including three Tests against the Wallabies.

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