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Warren Gatland To Stand Down From Wales As He Is Confirmed As Lions Coach

Warren Gatland To Stand Down From Wales As He Is Confirmed As Lions Coach
By Gavin Cooney
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Warren Gatland will be the head coach of the British and Irish Lions for next year's tour of New Zealand, following his successful tour/emotional scarring of Ireland in Australia four years ago.

The announcement will be formally announced today, but the tyranny of camera phones meant that the confirmation was, in essence, leaked last night:

Such are the demands of being the custodian of this rugby tradition, Gatland will step away from Wales duty for the season ahead, and will be replaced by his assistant, Rob Howley.

This happened last time around in 2013, although Gatland took charge of Wales' Autumn Tests before switching attention to the Lions. (the last of these was against Australia, the Lions hosts the following summer). The frankly ominous spectre of New Zealand means Gatland will be giving the Lions his utmost attention with immediate effect.


From Gatland's point of view, this is going to be as difficult a task as the Lions have ever faced. This New Zealand squad is as strong as they have ever had, and when that is combined with the ludicrously demanding schedule his players will be subject to (the Pro 12 final and the Premiership take place just a week before the Lions opening game), Gatland has one hell of a job on his hands.

Oh, and the Super Rugby sides the Lions are slated to play early in the tour are likely to be at full strength and replete with full internationals.

Gatland's stepping aside has not harmed Wales in the past: they won the 2013 Six Nations under Rob Howley.


[The Guardian]

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