British & Irish Lions
Gatland: Australia is easiest test
ESPN Staff
December 13, 2012
Warren Gatland on his Lions coaching team

British & Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland says Australia is the "easiest" place for them to achieve their first Test series triumph in 16 years.

After unveiling his coaching team for the tour of Australia next summer, Gatland declared that the Wallabies represented the Lions' best chance of claiming a series victory since their tour of South Africa in 1997.

Gatland said: "Going to one of the top-three teams in the world, playing away from home and being successful is incredibly challenging. But if you'd said to me, out of the three southern hemisphere teams, pick your choice of where you'd like to go, I would've said Australia probably.

"It's maybe the easiest from a Lions perspective. In the past there are teams that have had some success against the Australian sides."

The Wallabies, and head coach Robbie Deans, have been under pressure in Australia after a mediocre 2012 season, which has included a thumping defeat to France recently and defeat to Scotland in June. However, Gatland insists he is not underestimating next summer's opponents, who have beaten his Welsh side four times in the last year.

Gatland added: "We've got to be incredibly aware if we happen to win the first Test. We'll know what's coming in the second Test. They will do whatever it takes to get a result."

The 49-year-old is equally aware Lions coaches have not had the happiest of experiences in recent times ahead of a tour which begins against the Barbarians in Hong Kong on June 1, with the first of three Tests in Brisbane on June 22.

"The last four Lions tours the coach has lost his job within 12 months," added Gatland, who has been seconded to the Lions from his role as head coach of Wales. "It's a poisoned chalice. My challenge is to be in the same job 12 months after the Lions tour. That would be success for me."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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