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Gatland insists he won't desert Wales to return to New Zealand

By Robert Jones

Warren Gatland has moved to scotch reports he could leave Wales to seek a return to New Zealand after next summer's British and Irish Lions tour.

Former Ireland and Wasps boss Gatland has been Wales coach since 2007 and has insisted he intends to see out his current contract, which runs until 2019.

In moving to deny reports he could leave Wales after spearheading the Lions' tour of his homeland next summer, Gatland revealed he rejected an approach from a Super Rugby franchise.

"The Chiefs spoke to me about three months ago but I told them it was a non-starter until my contract runs out with Wales," Gatland said.

"I told the Chiefs I would be interested after 2019 but there's no way I would leave Wales or the Lions now."

Gatland has led Wales to three RBS Six Nations titles and the semi-finals and quarter-finals at Rugby World Cups.

The 53-year-old has taken a season-long sabbatical from his job as Wales head coach to prepare for the Lions' three-Test series in New Zealand in June.

Gatland guided the Lions to a Test series triumph in Australia in 2013, and will bid to land the famous invitational side's second winning tour in New Zealand in the summer.

Gatland must return to a position within New Zealand's domestic structure should he harbour any ambitions to coach the All Blacks.

But despite strong interest in his services from Super Rugby outfits, Gatland has issued a steadfast message that he remains committed to seeing out his current contract with the Welsh.

He said: "All my focus is on is the Lions and Wales: I repeat, I'm not going anywhere until after the 2019 World Cup."

Belfast Telegraph


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