Warren Gatland has been confirmed as head coach of the British and Irish Lions for a 3rd time.
Gatland, at present Wales coach, will take cost in South Africa in 2021, having already presided over a sequence win in Australia in 2013, and a attract New Zealand 4 years later.
The 55-year-old New Zealander is standing down as Wales boss after the World Cup this 12 months.
He’ll formally begin with the Lions in the summertime of 2020.
“I am massively honoured and delighted to steer the Lions once more,” stated Gatland, who turns into simply the second man in historical past – after Sir Ian McGeechan – to take cost of three excursions.
“It’s thrilling and an incredible problem. The Lions rightly have a very particular place within the sport and I jumped on the likelihood to be concerned once more once I was approached concerning the function.”
Whereas Gatland will take a brief break after his 12-year Wales stint, it’s understood Lions chiefs are investigating the opportunity of him performing as a training marketing consultant in between jobs, earlier than beginning with the Lions in August subsequent 12 months.
“I am delighted to now have all the things in place to start full-time in August 2020 as that offers me the absolute best likelihood to plan for South Africa, however in the meanwhile my focus is completely on the World Cup and delivering a profitable marketing campaign for Wales,” Gatland added.
Lions managing director Ben Calveley says they’ve the “finest coach on the planet” signed up, and an early appointment permits time for Gatland to be intently concerned in planning for the sequence towards the Springboks.
“Naturally he was our first-choice candidate from the beginning of the method,” defined Calveley.
“Appointing him two years forward of time ensures Warren can be concerned in planning the logistics and scheduling components of the tour.
“I am wanting ahead to working alongside him to present the Lions the very best likelihood of success in South Africa. The supporters are central to what make the Lions particular, and with the world’s best coach on the helm, pleasure will develop even additional.”
Gatland won’t affirm his assistant coaches till a lot nearer to the tour, however it’s believed incoming Eire head coach Andy Farrell is already being focused after his main contributions in 2013 and 2017.
The Lions are additionally eager on succession planning, with Farrell being earmarked as a possible head coach for the tour in 2025.
Both method, the Lions are set for a serious structural shake-up.
The old school tour supervisor mannequin is to be disbanded, with Lions bosses eager to modernise the idea, which might result in a reconnection with extra lately retired ex-players.
England World Cup-winning prop Jason Leonard, who went on three Lions excursions, has already come on board as chairman – and probably tour supervisor.
“We could also be enjoying away within the heartland of South Africa, however I’m assured that but once more, we could have huge assist and they’re going to really feel like house video games,” stated Leonard, who was a part of the final successful sequence towards the Springboks in 1997.
“As a participant it made all of the distinction, and now I can not wait to be a part of the well-known sea of pink having fun with the tour of a lifetime.”
The long-term settlement with Sanzaar (the governing physique that represents Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina) has additionally expired, offering a possibility to start out afresh and to barter individually with the related southern hemisphere union, in an try and keep away from the scheduling points which have dogged earlier excursions.
There’s additionally renewed optimism about working with the English golf equipment, with Calveley in common dialogue along with his Premiership counterparts.
Gatland’s earlier Lions excursions
Australia 2013 outcomes:
First Check – Australia 21-23 Lions
Second Check – Australia 16-15 Lions
Third Check – Australia 16-41 Lions
Lions win sequence 2-1
New Zealand 2017 outcomes:
First Check – NZ 30-15 Lions
Second Check – NZ 21-24 Lions
Third Check – NZ 15-15 Lions