British & Irish Lions
Gatland offered Lions job?
March 25, 2012
Wales boss Warren Gatland steered his side to a Grand Slam in this year's Six Nations © Getty Images
Wales boss Warren Gatland has reportedly been offered the British & Irish Lions coaching job for next year's tour of Australia.
The Sunday Telegraph reports that Gatland, who steered Wales to the second Grand Slam of his tenure in this year's Six Nations, was offered the job following an interview with the Lions committee in London on Wednesday.
Gatland has since returned to his native New Zealand for a holiday but the newspaper reports that his representatives have opened discussions with the Lions board to finalise the details of his contract. The appointment of the 48-year-old, who served as an assistant to Sir Ian McGeechan on the Lions' tour of South Africa in 2009, is expected to be confirmed at the start of next month.
The Lions committee have previously stated their desire to secure a coach on a 12-month contract so the chosen candidate can focus solely on shaping his squad and management team from the start of the next domestic campaign. The Welsh Rugby Union have also expressed their willingness to temporarily release Gatland from his current contract, that runs until the end of the 2015 Rugby World Cup, with assistants Rob Howley and Robin McBryde thought to be in line to take charge of the side for the autumn internationals and next year's Six Nations.
Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards and England assistant coach Graham Rowntree, who also formed part of the 2009 Lions' coaching team, are strongly tipped to form part of Gatland's backroom staff for the 2013 tour.
Gatland has long coveted a return to the Lions coaching team, commenting earlier this year: "I would love to be involved with the Lions again if the opportunity came up. South Africa was a wonderful rugby experience like no other. We went back to basics with an old-fashioned philosophy in a professional manner. It was a privilege to work with coaches and players from other nations and you learn so much.
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