England scrum coach Graham Rowntree has been appointed to Ian McGeechan's management team for next summer's Lions tour to South Africa.
Rowntree, 37, fills the final specialist coaching role under McGeechan and will work alongside Warren Gatland (forwards), Shaun Edwards (defence) and Rob Howley (backs) on the 10-match, three-Test tour.
Rowntree, the former Leicester and England prop, played under McGeechan on the Lions’ victorious tour to South Africa in 1997 and he made two Test appearances on the trip to New Zealand in 2005.
McGeechan said: “I am delighted to have Graham on board. He brings with him a direct approach and an understanding of not only what we are looking to achieve as a coaching group but also an understanding of the Lions ethos.
“The scrum will be an intensely contested area in South Africa and we’ll need to be technically accurate at scrum time from the moment we arrive.
“It is crucial to have a forward pack that are technically as good as they can be against a renowned set of South African forwards.”
Rowntree joined the Rugby Football Union from Leicester as a national academy coach in 2007 before being seconded to work under Brian Ashton as England’s scrum specialist at the World Cup.
Rowntree was officially promoted to the position of England assistant coach when Martin Johnson took charge as manager ahead of the autumn internationals.
He said: “It is a tremendous honour to be asked to become involved with Geech’s coaching set-up.
“Having experienced both the highs and lows of Lions rugby as a player, I am determined to be part of a winning set-up in 2009 and relishing the opportunity to work with the other coaches to make that happen.
“Geech is someone that I have an enormous amount of respect for and cannot wait to play my part in contributing to a great environment.”
Johnson added: "On behalf of the England squad I'm delighted for Graham and it's a well deserved honour.
"Having played alongside Graham for many years at club and international level and having seen him coach the England squad, I know what an asset he will be to the British and Irish Lions who he served so well as a squad member in 1997 and 2005.
"I will give due consideration to replacing Graham for the tour to Argentina."