A familiar foe

The Lions could face one of their former coaches when they head Down Under next year. [more]

A familiar foe

The Lions could face one of their former coaches when they head Down Under next year.

Britain and Ireland’s elite take on the Barbarians in Hong Kong in 2013 before embarking on a nine-match Australian adventure that includes a three-Test series with the Wallabies.

The Lions will face all five Australian Super 15 franchises, starting with the Western Force on June 9.

And that particular fixture could now see them go head-to-head with 2005 assistant Lions coach Eddie O’Sullivan.

The ex-Ireland boss is being linked with a coaching position in Perth following the departure of Richard Graham to the Reds.

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O’Sullivan has been looking for work since leaving the United States national side after the 2011 World Cup and his agent has confirmed he has been approached by the Force hierarchy about a possible move to Oz.

“Eddie has not been down to Australia but he has held preliminary talks with the Force,” O’Sullivan’s agent John Baker told the Irish Times.

“It is for a coaching position, not necessarily the head coaching position as the talks have not reached that stage yet.

“There is also an interest in the vacant position at the Auckland Blues.”

O’Sullivan was part of Sir Clive Woodward’s coaching staff when the Lions toured New Zealand in 2005.

He was linked with the 2009 Lions post for the tour to South Africa having left his position with Ireland the previous season following eight years in charge in Dublin.

Since his departure from his most recent job in America, the 53-year-old has also been spoken of in relation to positions with England, the Ospreys, Cardiff Blues and Gloucester.

No date has been set for an announcement on the coaching set up at the Force and O’Sullivan still faces stiff competition from a number of other high-profile candidates.

Former Leinster coach Michael Cheika was the early favourite after the announcement that his Stade Francais contract would not be renewed, while ex-Bath boss Steve Meehan is also among those thought to be in with a chance of succeeding Graham.

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