Gatland’s planning a third tour of duty in South Africa
WARREN GATLAND has left the door open to coaching the British and Irish Lions for a third consecutive tour in 2021. The Kiwi has fronted campaigns in Australia and New Zealand and could now complete the set with a series in South Africa. After Saturday’s draw at Eden Park, Gatland admitted he would fancy his chances against the Springboks. ‘If that opportunity came again it would be something you would consider,’ said Gatland (right), who now returns to coaching Wales. ‘It’s up to the board and the Lions, isn’t it? To do the three tours as a head coach and to win two and draw one wouldn’t be a bad achievement. ‘I’m definitely finishing up with Wales after the World Cup. I would have been there long enough so I don’t know what I’m going to do post-2019.’ Any doubts about future Lions tours were shut down by drawing with the All Blacks over three Tests. But English clubs are threatening to boycott the Lions in a row over player release unless a compromise is agreed over time and money. Gatland claimed a tour of South Africa poses fewer problems. ‘The South African thing is a little bit easier in terms of the time frames and the travel. ‘Discussions need to take place about having some reasonable preparation time. I’m not asking for a month, but I think a week in the UK or Ireland beforehand, then arrive in South Africa for a week before the first game is reasonable,’ said Gatland. The Kiwi has in the past expressed his dream of coaching the All Blacks. Steve Hansen is expected to stand down as New Zealand coach in 2019 but Ian Foster, his assistant, is likely to take over after the World Cup. Gatland was clear that he thought he was the best man to deliver the Lions’ results. ‘If anyone else had been doing it, we might not have drawn the series,’ he said.