Gatland set for Lions role

PA Sport
Warren Gatland will lead the Lions into action

View photo

Warren Gatland will lead the Lions into action

Warren Gatland will be officially unveiled as the head coach of the British and Irish Lions for their 2013 tour of Australia on Tuesday.

Gatland was the outstanding candidate for the post after leading Wales to the semi-finals of the 2011 Rugby World Cup and last season's Grand Slam triumph.

The Lions had initially planned to make the announcement in April but were forced into a delay after Gatland broke both his heels in a fall at his house in Waikato.

The 48-year-old will become the second New Zealander to lead the Lions on tour to Australia, after Graham Henry's failed attempt to beat the Wallabies in 2001.

Gatland is expected to confirm his full coaching team in October and it would be a surprise if the likes of Graham Rowntree and Shaun Edwards were not involved.

All three were part of the 2009 Lions management in South Africa and received the backing of head coach Ian McGeechan to carry the torch to Australia.

Gatland will coach Wales in their autumn Tests against New Zealand and Australia, but otherwise he will be seconded full-time to the Lions.

Rob Howley led Wales on their summer tour of Australia in Gatland's injury-enforced absence and will continue in that role through the 2013 RBS 6 Nations.

When Gatland leads the Lions to Australia, it will be 16 years since their last Test series victory - over world champions South Africa in 1997. The Lions have lost to Australia (2001), New Zealand (2005) and South Africa (2009) in their last three Test series.

Next year's tour features 10 matches - the first of which will be against the Barbarians in Hong Kong on June 1 - and three Tests against the Wallabies, in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.

View comments (1)