LEINSTER coach Joe Schmidt has been passed over for the plum role of backs coach to the 2013 British and Irish Lions.
There has been much support from former Lions like England's Will Greenwood and Wales' Scott Quinnell for Schmidt to join the ticket.
Schmidt (below) made it known that he was "flattered" by his link to the post and described it as a "fantastic opportunity" for the man asked to travel to Australia.
It would appear that Gatland has ignored the incomparable achievements of Schmidt as a two-time Heineken Cup winner in his three seasons at Leinster.
The Irish province and the IRFU were thought to be open to working out a release clause in Schmidt's contract if he was given the chance to coach the best players in Great Britain and Ireland.
Apparently, Gatland has offered to co-opt former Great Britain rugby league great Andy Farrell, the part-time backs coach for England through the 2012 Six Nations.
Farrell was re-appointed to the same role on a three-and-a-half year contract in June, the international calendar leaving him with enough time to turn his eyes on The Lions.
The expectation that England's forwards coach Graham Rowntree will also be on the roster, along with Gatland's Wales defence guru Shaun Edwards leaves Ireland looking to provide the captain in either Brian O'Driscoll or Paul O'Connell, once they can show fitness and form.