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Gatland set to lead British and Irish Lions tour for a third time in 2021 South Africa tour

Gatland set to lead British and Irish Lions tour for a third time with Wales boss set to be named head coach for South Africa tour in 2021

  • Warren Gatland is favourite to be British and Irish Lions boss for South Africa
  • The Wales head coach led the touring side to victory in Australia in 2013 
  • He also achieved a memorable drawn series against New Zealand in 2017
  • Gatland will leave his current role with Wales following the World Cup  

The British and Irish Lions are set to reappoint Warren Gatland for a third time for the 2021 tour to South Africa.

The Wales head coach led the side to a series victory in Australia in 2013, before earning a draw over three games against New Zealand in 2017.

These performances in the role have led the British and Irish Lions board – led by newly-appointed chairman Jason Leonard – to identify Gatland as the leading candidate for the role. 

Warren Gatland is close to being confirmed as the British and Irish Lions coach for 2021

Warren Gatland is close to being confirmed as the British and Irish Lions coach for 2021

Having won three Grand Slams in 11 years as Wales coach, Gatland will leave his post after this year’s World Cup and is in demand across the globe.

The New Zealander was part of the staff during the lost series in South Africa in 2009, so is keen to avenge the defeat. 

Having also led the side in 2013, Gatland was reappointed in 2017 for the tour of New Zealand

Having also led the side in 2013, Gatland was reappointed in 2017 for the tour of New Zealand

A senior Lions source told The Telegraph: ‘Warren is our No 1 choice. He understands the Lions and the unique challenges of touring. 

‘He has already proven his ability to put together a successful touring squad, not just in picking form players but also the right kind of personalities and characters that make the Lions so special.

‘His track record with Wales speaks for itself and the brilliant thing for the Lions is that he will have no distractions in the build-up to the South Africa tour and there will also be no complications connected to hiring him from one of the unions.

‘It is important that we get the deal done as quickly as possible to allow him quite rightly to concentrate fully on Wales’s World Cup preparations.’

Gatland's first involvement with the Lions was as part of Ian McGeechan's staff in 2009

Gatland’s first involvement with the Lions was as part of Ian McGeechan’s staff in 2009

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