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Latest News - Thursday 23 August 2012 - 9:28

Gatland confirms he is British & Irish Lions Coach

Wales coach Warren Gatland has confirmed he is to be appointed British & Irish Lions coach for the tour to Australia in 2013.

The British & Irish Lions have yet to formally announce the New Zealander as the head coach, but speaking to RugbyHeaven, he confirmed he will be appointed to the role on the 4th September 2012.

The appointment had been delayed from the originally planned announcement in May 2012.  The delay was caused because Gatland broke both his heels in an accident whilst on holiday in New Zealand.  His injury caused him to miss Wales’ tour to Australia this summer.

Gatland confirmed “I go back [to Britain] on Sunday and I’ve got to go to Scotland for a couple of days planning with a couple of people from the Lions, and then there’s an announcement on September 4.

“We still haven’t signed anything yet but it’s very close, and if I do take the position I’ll be seconded to the Lions for 10 months, but they’ve allowed me to be involved in the All Blacks Test [against Wales] for that week, and the Australian week. I won’t coach the Samoa and Argentinian weeks or be involved in the Six Nations. I think that’s trying to give the position some neutrality.”

Gatland also indicated that he was thrilled to be taking on the challenge of the Lions adding “The great thing about the tour is that it’s the old-style tour. It’s 10 games in Australia – the first game is in Hong Kong against the Barbarians, and then we play the five Super Rugby franchises and three Tests against Australia, and I think a game against NSW Country.

“It’s a great chance to mould players from four different countries together is such a short period. I think we get them for about a week before we go on tour, and it’s a great experience.

“It’s difficult to do. As a concept you want the Lions to be successful. After 2005, they brought two teams [to NZ] and got well beaten, and it was almost as if people were talking about getting rid of the Lions, but it does generate massive amounts to the country that is hosting the Lions. The television deal is huge … [but] it’s important that the Lions in their own right are successful as an entity.”

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