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Gatland return news to NZ rugby bosses

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 18/12/2016

A report that Warren Gatland will quit his post as Welsh rugby coach next year and return home to New Zealand has been scotched by all parties.

The Daily Mail reported that Gatland will stay in New Zealand after the British and Irish Lions tour in June and July next year. He is head coach of the Lions for the second time.

The report said the former All Black will cut short a lucrative six-year extension he signed in 2013 to take him through to the next World Cup in Japan.

However, Gatland dismissed it as speculation when contacted by NewsHub.

New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew had no idea what the 53-year-old's plans are beyond the Lions tour.

NZR staff are regularly in touch with Kiwi players and coaches offshore to sound them out on the prospect of returning home.

"Those conversations are always ongoing ... but we haven't talked to him since that speculation, no," Tew said.

"He popped up at virtually every All Blacks fixture so he was doing his research."

Gatland spent significant time in New Zealand this year to keep tabs on next year's opposition, as well as follow the career of his 21-year-old son Bryn, who played at NPC level for North Harbour.

Gatland's family have remained in New Zealand throughout his Welsh tenure and he has spoken previously about the hardship of coping without them.

The newspaper report said former Wales prop Dai Young, the director of rugby at London club Wasps, was being lined up to replace Gatland.

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