Sun. May 19th, 2019

Warren Gatland set for Lions helm ahead of SA tour

warren gatlandWales coach Warren Gatland is set to be appointed head coach of the British and Irish Lions ahead of their tour to South Africa.

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Wales head coach Warren Gatland will lead the British and Irish Lions for the third time when they travel to South Africa in 2021, The Sunday Telegraph reports.

The New Zealander first toured South Africa with the Lions as part of Sir Ian McGeechan’s coaching staff in 2009, and first took up the head coach role in 2013 ahead of the tour to Australia.

He had been tipped to lead the team, with countrymen Steve Hansen and Joe Schmidt also named alongside England coach Eddie Jones as possible candidates.

However, an unnamed source quoted by the publication says Gatland is the preferred candidate for the position, and should be appointed in the not-so-distant future.

“Warren is our number one choice. He understands the Lions and the unique challenges of touring. He has already proven his ability to put together a successful touring squad, not just in picking form players but also the right kind of personalities and characters that make the Lions so special.

“It is important that we get the deal done as quickly as possible to allow him to concentrate fully in Wales’ World Cup preparations.”

Gatland is expected to step down a Wales coach after the World Cup, leaving a position he has held for 12 years, winning three Grand Slams in the process – the most recent coming via the 2019 Six Nations crown.

Hi departure from the Dragons’ post would free him up to assume duty with the Lion from as early as the start of 2020.

The 55-year-old has been one of the more successful Lions coaches in recent years, claiming a 2-1 series victory against the Wallabies in 2013 before sharing the spoils with the All Blacks four years later.

Reports have also linked him with the England head coach job, following a shaky period under Jones.

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