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Gatland keen on Lions job

Wales head coach Warren Gatland says he would welcome the opportunity to lead the British and Irish Lions on their tour of Australia in 2013, and is hopeful the Welsh Rugby Union would allow him to take charge of the trip.

Gatland's stock is high after he guided Wales to the semi-finals of the World Cup in New Zealand last year, and he has previous Lions experience having been part of Sir Ian McGeechan's set-up in South Africa in 2009.

When asked about the possibility of leading the game's most iconic touring side, Gatland said: "All I can comment on is last time I was involved it was a huge honour and if the opportunity came again it would be fantastic. I recognise the great entity of the Lions in terms of their history and if given the opportunity it would be fantastic."

The Lions want their choice as head coach to be available to them on a full-time basis from a year prior to the tour, meaning Gatland would need to negotiate a release from his Wales contract, which runs until after the 2015 World Cup and includes a five-month break clause in the summer of 2013, in order to take the role.

But Press Association Sport understands the WRU are open to negotiation over any approach, which would potentially allow them to develop a coach with a view to replacing Gatland when his contract expires.

The Kiwi added: "I think that Wales have always been incredibly supportive of the Lions and if there was that chance that the Lions wanted me to be involved then I don't think there would be a negative hindrance by the Welsh Rugby Union for me to do that.

"If I was offered any involvement I am sure they would be more than supportive."


From Belfast Telegraph