Gat­land’s plan­ning a third tour of duty in South Africa

Daily Mail - - All Blacks 1 Lions 1 - NIK SI­MON re­ports from Auck­land

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.

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