Sport

Lions name Warren Gatland as coach for 2021 SA tour

Lions name Warren Gatland as coach for 2021 SA tour”

Gatland, confirmed overnight as the British and Irish Lions coach for the 2021 tour of South Africa, will quit as the Wales boss after this year's World Cup.

It will be Gatland's third successive tour as Lions head coach have led them to a series victory in 2013 against Australia, before defeating the All Blacks back in 2017 on the way to a drawn series.

Gatland will leave his role as Wales coach after this year's World Cup in Japan and will become only the second person after Sir Ian McGeechan to take charge of the Lions on three consecutive tours.

But he plans to call an end to his stint in Europe after the Lions tour, and has eyed up a job in Super Rugby. Warren Gatland did not quite give us permission to shoot if he was seen on another British & Irish Lions tour, but near as dammit.

The British & Irish Lions managing director, Ben Calveley, said: "We're delighted to have got our man; Warren is a world-class coach, boasts a proven track record, and knows the Lions better than anyone else now coaching in world rugby - so naturally he was our first-choice candidate from the start of the process". His unveiling as Lions coach was anticipated, but he had been linked with a return to New Zealand, as well as succeeding Eddie Jones as England head coach.

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Warren Gatland is standing down as Wales coach after the 2019 World Cup.

"This was a unanimous decision from the Lions board and it was important that we moved swiftly and proactively to secure Warren's signature", he said. "But two years is a long time and you never know what's going to happen in the game".

Gatland will be without his previous captain Sam Warburton - retiring in July 2018 - who was at the helm for both Australia and New Zealand, but has pinpointed some frontrunners for the high-pressured role. "We're having discussions around that sort of thing". "We spoke about the potential and I couldn't turn my back on the challenge".

Pivac and Jones, a former Welsh test flyhalf, have left Welsh club Scarlets for the national team while Humphreys, a former Wales captain, is set to surrender his post as forwards coach at Glasgow Warriors, coached by New Zealander Dave Rennie. I have been extremely privileged to be involved and this will be my fourth tour.

'There are negotiations underway with the Pro14 and PRL in terms of potentially when their finals are locked in and how much time we are going to have together as a group before we go on tour, ' he added.



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