Wales coach Warren Gatland is the “leading contender” to be British and Irish Lions coach for next year’s tour of New Zealand
Gatland coached the Lions to victory over Australia in 2013
Joe Schmidt also a major contender
Wales’ Warren Gatland has emerged as the favourite to be named British and Irish Lions coach for next year’s tour of New Zealand.
Gatland, who led the Lions’ 2-1 Test series victory against Australia in 2013, is almost certain to head up the shortlist for the coach’s job for the tour against his native New Zealand.
Since Gatland took over as Wales coach, they have won three Six Nations titles and two Grand Slams.
Lions chief executive John Feehan said: “It would be absolutely ludicrous of me to say that Warren would not be the leading contender – he clearly is.”
Talking to Sky, Feehan added: “If he is involved it will be a third tour for him, he has a record that is pretty much second to none in the northern hemisphere and so he has to be the leading contender.”
“The four home-based coaches are a pretty good starting point. It is unlikely that we will move outside of that, but we will keep an open mind. We will consider any international coach who wants to be involved.”
The Lions intend to name their coach in August or September, with Ireland’s Joe Schmidt likely to be Gatland’s main rival for the post.
New England head coach Eddie Jones is unlikely to be involved unless he opens his tenure in spectacular fashion by guiding his side to a Grand Slam in the Six Nations