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Official: Gatland will coach Lions

04th September 2012 09:56

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Warren Gatland new Lions coach

Lion king: Warren Gatland

Warren Gatland has been confirmed as the Head Coach of the British and Irish Lions for their 2013 tour of Australia.

The worst kept secret in rugby was finally confirmed in London on Tuesday after the initial announcement was delayed due to Gatland breaking both of his heels in a fall whilst on holiday in New Zealand back in April.

Gatland, who as an assistant to Ian McGeechan on the 2009 tour of South Africa, has long been the leading candidate for the top job after leading Wales to the semi-finals of the World Cup and the Six Nations Grand Slam in 2011.

The 48-year-old will become the second New Zealander to lead the Lions on tour to Australia, after Graham Henry's side lost the 2001 series 2-1 to the Wallabies.

Gatland is expected to confirm his full coaching team in October. England forwards coach Graham Rowntree and are Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards, who were also part of the 2009 Lions management, are likely to be involved.

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

Interim Wales coach Rob Howley will be in charge for the Argentina and Samoa Tests in November and will take over at the helm full time for the 2013 Six 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.

Next year's tour features 10 matches starting against the Barbarians in Hong Kong on June 1 before three Tests against the Wallabies, in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.

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