I’d relish home Lions tour, admits Gatland

Warren Gatland would be interested in leading the Lions for the second time when they tour his native New Zealand in 2017.

The 50-year-old transferred the success he has enjoyed with Wales to the Lions this summer, guiding the tourists to their first series win in 16 years as they crushed Australia in the final Test to claim a 2-1 overall triumph.

And Gatland, pictured, said he would happily take the reins again.

He said yesterday: “For me to go to New Zealand would be a great opportunity in 2017, but there is a huge amount of water to pass under the bridge before that.

“For me, the focus over the next couple of years is doing well for Wales.

“And if Wales do well in the Six Nations and the World Cup, then you put yourself in the frame to hopefully be asked again. You never know, and if I was asked to do it again and particularly in my own country, it would be something I would relish.”

Recalling the series, Gatland described it as an “amazing experience” although he admitted he was shocked by the reaction to O’Driscoll’s axing.

“I wasn’t prepared,” he said.

“I think that people out in Australia weren’t aware of the almost hysteria that (it) created but that’s sport and you’ve got to stand by your beliefs, put your hand on your heart and sometimes make some tough decisions.”

For now, though, Gatland is concentrating on his bid to win the RBS 6 Nations with Wales for the third successive time.

— Brian Clarke


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