British & Irish Lions
Gatland set to be unveiled as Lions coach
September 4, 2012
Wales boss Warren Gatland is poised to lead the British & Irish Lions t Australia next summer © Getty Images
British & Irish Lions Head Coaches
The British & Irish Lions are set to name Wales boss Warren Gatland as their head coach for next year's tour to Australia.
The coach, who will take charge for a 10-game tour featuring a clash with the Barbarians in Hong Kong and a three-Test series against Wallabies, will be formally announced in London today with Gatland widely expected to get the nod.
Speculation regarding the make-up of Gatland's support staff is set to increase following his expected appointment. Rob Howley, who also formed part of the coaching team in 2009 and toured Australia in 2001, may be in line to join Gatland in the Lions' ranks in a move that would likely see forwards coach Robyn McBryde lead Wales to Japan next summer.
Other names in the mix include England assistant coach Graham Rowntree, another to have played for and coached the Lions, and long-term Gatland assistant Shaun Edwards. Leinster boss Joe Schmidt is another to have been linked with a role.
Gatland, who has steered Wales to two Six Nations Grand Slams and last year's Rugby World Cup semi-finals during his tenure, has long been linked with the post having also served as an assistant to Sir Ian McGeechan on the Lions tour to South Africa in 2009.
The 48-year-old, who has only recently recovered from a domestic accident suffered five months ago that saw him fracture both his heels, revealed last month that an announcement was imminent with an agreement with the Welsh Rugby Union over the use of their contracted coach understood to have been struck.
It is understood that Gatland will be seconded to the Lions for 10 months but will still spearhead the Wales coaching team for the end of year clashes with New Zealand Australia. His assistant Howley will take the team's reins for the earlier clashes with Argentina and Samoa and for the defence of their Six Nations crown in 2013.
If confirmed, Gatland will become the 14th person to chosen to lead the elite tourists and the second overseas coach following Sir Graham Henry's appointment for the previous tour to Australia in 2001. Only Carwyn James (1971), Syd Millar (1974) and Ian McGeechan (1989 and 1997) have returned having won a Test series.
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