Leonard offered job as front-row coach

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The Independent Online

Jason Leonard is mulling over an offer to help develop the next generation of England prop forwards. Leonard, who retired this year after a record 114 Test caps, said he had been offered a job as England's front-row coach. But the 35-year-old, who is in Hong Kong, said he was in two minds about whether to take the post.

Jason Leonard is mulling over an offer to help develop the next generation of England prop forwards. Leonard, who retired this year after a record 114 Test caps, said he had been offered a job as England's front-row coach. But the 35-year-old, who is in Hong Kong, said he was in two minds about whether to take the post.

"It may be that the best thing for me and my family is to take a break from rugby altogether for a little while," he said. "When I get back to England I'll have a long, hard look at the options in front of me."

In Auckland, the New Zealand Rugby Union has turned down requests from Northampton's former All Blacks, Andrew Blowers and Bruce Reihana, to be considered for selection against the Lions next year. The union, however, said the situation could change.

Players with overseas clubs seeking All Black selection must be eligible under International Rugby Board regulations, be contracted to the NZRU, be resident in New Zealand and play for, or be available for, a New Zealand team in the National Provincial Championship or the Super 12.

The flanker Blowers, 29, and the utility back Reihana, 28, have just returned to England to begin pre-season training. But should the other three criteria be filled, the NZRU board said it would reconsider their requests.

The Pacific Islands, Fiji, Samoa and Tonga, will unite for their first international in Adelaide tomorrow. They will play a Test against Australia, followed by matches against New Zealand and South Africa.

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