Published: Fri, June 14, 2019
Sport | By

Warren Gatland wants to come home

Warren Gatland wants to come home

Warren Gatland has said that he would not have taken the role of British & Irish Lions head coach if he didn't believe his side could win the series in South Africa in 2021.

The long-time Wales coach returns for his third tour with the team, having taken them to his home country in 2013 and Australia four years later.

Gatland was forwards coach when the Lions were beaten 2-1 by the Springboks a decade ago and the 55-year-old is determined to settle a score.

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".

"I'm hugely honoured and delighted to lead the Lions again", Gatland said at a press conference.

Undoubtedly Gatland and the Lions were more pleased with the outcome but he has at least acknowledged demand could be there for extra time if the series in South Africa is square heading into the final test.

"They have some of the most iconic stadiums in the world which will be packed full of passionate fans, and the Springboks have shown in recent times that they are back to being one of the dominant forces in the game".

'Having toured there in 2009 I know the scale of the task ahead of us - playing in South Africa presents a number of unique challenges such as playing at altitude, while the Boks will always be physical, aggressive and highly motivated.

Gatland has been coaching in the northern hemisphere for the best part of thirty years, and has held roles with Connacht, Ireland, Wasps, as well as his current position with Wales.

Asked if it will be his last Lions tour, Gatland replied: "I think so, yeah".

Gatland said he wanted to avoid the approach taken by Clive Woodward for the 2005 tour of New Zealand, when the former England coach effectively split the squad into test and midweek teams.

Although Gatland has done nothing in the past four years to lose his post with the Lions, former Ireland worldwide and 2009 Lion Luke Fitzgerald highlighted on Twitter that the idea of the tour is to have variety.

"Being a part of the Lions is an opportunity to go to South Africa and finish some unfinished business".

"I spoke to my family and thought this is something I couldn't turn my back on".

"I would love to be involved with Super Rugby and to challenge myself with that", he added.

Warren Gatland has "categorically" ruled out coaching England.

"I've been privileged to be involved in what will be four tours".

Like this: