Stuart Lancaster could be set for a Lions coaching role next summer on the South Africa tour after Warren Gatland revealed he had sounded out the former England boss already.
The 50-year-old has transformed his career at Irish province Leinster after crashing out of the 2015 World Cup with his home nation.
In Dublin he has won the 2018 European Cup and two league titles and is now viewed as one of the best in the business.
And Gatland – whose Wales side torpedoed Lancaster’s home World Cup five years ago – is keen on recruiting the Englishman.
‘I’ve spoken to Stuart and we’ve had a couple of conversations,’ the Lions boss told Sky Sports.
‘I think you’ve got to take your hat off to Stuart. He finished with England, then he’s gone away and he’s done some professional development; gone around and looked at other sports, and then he’s taken up this role with Leinster.
‘We met before the last tour and he spoke to me about his opinions on the Leinster players and the Irish players and gave me an insight into them and I appreciated that.
‘He’s definitely one person that I’ve spoken to and had a couple of conversations with him, but there’s a number of other people that I’ll be looking to talk to.
‘The first step is to get clarity from unions and the bosses and then potentially club CEOs about who is available, who isn’t available.’