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Gatland expected to get Lions job

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 22/08/2016

Warren Gatland is being widely tipped to be named the British and Irish Lions head coach for next year's tour to New Zealand.

The Kiwi-born Wales boss has been the front-runner for the position after leading the Lions to a 2-1 series success against Australia in 2013 - the team's first series win in 16 years.

The coaching announcement will take place in Edinburgh on September 7.

Gatland, who was also an assistant coach to Ian McGeechan on the 2009 series to South Africa, is likely to take a 10-month sabbatical from his Welsh job once confirmed in the Lions role, as he did prior to the Australian tour.

England coach Eddie Jones ruled himself out of the running early in his tenure because he wanted to commit fully to his four-year contract with England, while Ireland boss Joe Schmidt also decided against putting his hat in the ring.

However, Vern Cotter, who has entered the last year of his three-year stint with Scotland, is understood to have been interested in the job.

The Lions have not won a series in New Zealand since 1971 and Gatland will be fully aware of the size of the task ahead of the tourists after Wales were whitewashed in a three-Test series against the All Blacks in June.

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