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WRU happy for Warren Gatland to lead Lions in 2017

  • Welsh Rugby Union chief executive Martyn Phillips says he would not prevent Warren Gatland leading the Lions for a second time
  • The Lions were victorious under Gatland in Australia in 2013
  • They travel to world champions New Zealand next year
Welsh Rugby Union chief Martyn Phillips has revealed the governing body would give their blessing to Warren Gatland to join the British & Irish Lions if he is chosen to lead them in 2017.

The New Zealand-born head coach is the current favourite to take the Lions to the land of his birth and do the head coach’s job for a second time, having orchestrated a 2-1 series win over Australia in 2013.

“If they want to select Warren, we’d feel good about that,” Phillips said.

“It’s because Wales are performing well and he’s coaching well.”

“None of us would want to stand in the way of Warren getting that role,” revealed Phillips, who succeeded Roger Lewis as WRU chief, added.

“Although he’s possibly one of the best coaches in the world, it would make him an even better coach because he would get a whole new set of experiences and we’d benefit from those in the years after he comes back.

“If he is asked, that’s hopefully because we have performed well in the Six Nations.”

Lions chief executive John Feehan has already admitted Gatland is the leading contender to take charge again, describing the Kiwi as the best coach among their current options.

His principal rival for the 2017 Lions job is widely seen as Ireland’s Joe Schmidt, with Scotland’s Vern Cotter yet to taste Six Nations success and England’s Eddie Jones only just installed in his new international role.