Warren Gatland set to lead British and Irish Lions head coach for South Africa tour

Warren Gatland is set to be named British and Irish Lions head coach on Wednesday for the 2021 tour to South Africa.

Gatland will leave his role as Wales coach after this year’s World Cup in Japan and will become only the second person after Sir Ian McGeechan to take charge of the Lions on three consecutive tours.

The 55-year-old led the Lions to victory on their 2013 tour of Australia, with the 2017 tour of his native New Zealand finishing all-square after the decisive third Test ended in a thrilling 15-15 draw at Eden Park in Auckland.

The appointment is set to be confirmed at a press conference in London.

Sky Sports News reported last month a verbal agreement had been reached with the Lions.

It is not yet clear when Gatland would take up the role, but it is likely he would assume responsibilities around 10 months to a year before the tour.

Gatland won his third Six Nations Grand Slam with Wales this year and has been named as a possible successor to Eddie Jones when he steps down as England head coach in August 2021.

But with the RFU keen to have Jones’ replacement work alongside him in the final year of his contract to help with continuity in the role, Gatland appears unlikely to be willing to work under someone he has had a professional rivalry with in international rugby.

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