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Warren Gatland Confirmed Lions Head Coach

Warren Gatland 2017

Warren Gatland has been confirmed as Head Coach for the British & Irish Lions Tour of New Zealand in 2017.

The New Zealander previously coached the Lions to a series win over Australia in 2013, and also acted as forwards coach under Sir Ian McGeechan on the 2009 tour to South Africa.

It is the first time a British & Irish Lions Head Coach will have coached the team against the land of his birth.

Gatland will be attempting to achieve a first series win on New Zealand soil since 1971 and will be facing the current World Champions.

Garland said “It’s absolutely massive.  Having played against the Lions I know what it means to face the Lions, so to lead the Lions against the best team in the world is a massive honour.  I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think we could win.”

On the make up of his assistant coaching team Gatland said “I’ve not had much time to think about that at the moment. But you want continuity and also fresh faces.”  Gatland then confirmed his assistant coaches will be named on the 7th December 2016.

New Zealand 2017 Tour Manager John Spencer said: “We are delighted to have Warren as Head Coach for a second Tour. His international track record speaks for itself and he also understands the essence of the Lions and how to unite four nations in one purpose. Warren is acutely aware of the challenges we will face in New Zealand and we are confident he is the right man to lead us to a series victory.”

Gatland added “Coaching the British & Irish Lions is a great privilege. The 2013 Tour was a real career highlight for me and I am honoured to be offered the role again. The chance to work with the best players from the four Home Nations is a coach’s dream and we have some outstanding talent to select from.

“Likewise, there are some outstanding coaches who could potentially be involved and we’ll look to announce them in December. I’m looking forward to seeing how they and the players get on domestically, in Europe and internationally.

“I know from having been in New Zealand recently how much excitement there is ahead of next year. For the All Blacks a Lions series is the ultimate test but I am 100 per cent confident that we can go and win in New Zealand.”

Warren will fly out to New Zealand tomorrow to assume his duties with immediate effect.  He’ll be in Hamilton on Saturday to watch the All Blacks take on Argentina in the Rugby Championship, whilst touring the country looking at training venues and facilities.

Gatland coached the British & Irish Lions to a 2-1 series win over Australia in 2013 and worked as forwards coach under Sir Ian McGeechan on the South Africa tour in 2009.

 

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