Bookmakers SportNation have offered up odds for candidates to assist in South Africa

Lions 2021 Sam Warburton and Ronan O’Gara among favourites to assist Warren Gatland

Former Lions stars  Sam Warburton and Ronan O’Gara are ahead of the pack to be assistants to Warren Gatland on the 2021 British & Irish Lions tour to South Africa, according to bookmakers SportNation.

The news broke yesterday that Gatland will be head coach of the Lions for the third tour in a row, though the Kiwi is reportedly still to formally sign a deal. It is unspecified when he will officially begin his duties – his first priority is coaching Wales at Rugby World Cup 2019 – but speculation has already begun about which coaches he will ask to help take on the Springboks.

O’Gara, currently working as an assistant coach with the Canterbury Crusaders in Super Rugby, is installed as favourite with SportNation, coming in at 2/1 to work with Gatland in South Africa. The former fly-half played in two Tests for the Lions, coming off the bench in New Zealand in 2005 and again in 2009, in South Africa.

Lions 2021 Sam Warburton

Highly rated: O’Gara has earned plaudits for coaching in NZ and France (Getty Images)

Meanwhile, recently-retired Welsh flanker Warburton comes in at 4/1. He captained the Lions on the previous two tours under Gatland, leading the side in the series victory over Australia in 2013 and in the drawn series with New Zealand in 2017.

Alex Sanderson, coaching the forwards and defence at Saracens, is third on the log while another newcomer to the list is Harlequins scrum coach and former Lions tighthead Adam Jones.

Below the Welsh international are a raft of men who all worked with Gatland on the previous Lions tour to New Zealand.

The current odds for assistants according to SportNation are:

Ronan O’Gara 2/1
Sam Warburton 4/1
Alex Sanderson 3/1
Adam Jones 3/1
Rob Howley 1/2
Steve Borthwick 6/5
Andy Farrell 8/15
Neil Jenkins 4/9
Graham Rowntree 4/6

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