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Gatland closes in on Lions job

14th February 2012 06:53

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warren gatland

Gatland: Set to coach B&I Lions

New Zealand-born Wales coach Warren Gatland is set to follow in the footsteps of Graham Henry and coach the British and Irish Lions on the 2013 tour to Australia.

It has been reported that the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) has given its approval for Gatland to take over from Sir Ian McGeechan having been his assistant on the 2009 tour of South Africa.

Gatland's Wales deal has a five-month break clause but it is thought the WRU will allow a six-month sabbatical, which would rule him out of coaching Wales in the 2013 Six Nations.

Lions team manager Andy Irvine has previously said that their preference was to have the 2013 coach available for an entire year but that timescale could be changed for the right man and Gatland's odds are shortening.

The New Zealander coached Wales to the 2008 Grand Slam and won many admirers for their performances in the 2011 World Cup, where they finished fourth, and currently lead the Six Nations standings after wins over Ireland and Scotland.

The choice of Lions coach will be announced after the culmination of this season's Six Nations.

Former All Blacks coach Henry was in charge of the Lions on their last tour to Australia in 2001 while in charge of Wales, and lost the series 2-1.

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