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Warren Gatland to become Lions head coach for third time

The New Zealander will be in charge for the tour to South Africa.

File photo dated 03-06-2017 of British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland.
File photo dated 03-06-2017 of British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland.

Warren Gatland has agreed to become head coach of the British and Irish Lions for the tour to South Africa in 2021, Press Association Sport understands.

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The Lions have moved swiftly to secure Gatland for a record third successive term, in the process ending the prospect of the Kiwi replacing Eddie Jones as England boss after the World Cup.

Although the contract has yet to be signed as Gatland is currently in New Zealand, a verbal agreement has been reached.

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Warren Gatland will take on the head coach’s job for the British and Irish Lions for a third time (David Davies/PA).

A start date has yet to be finalised, but it is likely that the most successful coach in Six Nations history will take up the role a year out from the tour.

It means Gatland will complete the set of Lions tour destinations following a series win against Australia in 2013 and 1-1 draw with New Zealand four years later.

A spokesman for the Lions declined to comment on the news.

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Warren Gatland is ready to add a South Africa Lions tour to his tours of Australia and New Zealand.

Recruiting Gatland is a coup for Lions managing director Ben Calveley, who viewed the 55-year-old as the outstanding candidate for the role.

Gatland steps down as Wales boss after the World Cup and as one of the game’s finest coaches, he was linked with a number of positions including England.

Since taking charge of Wales in 2007, he has masterminded four Six Nations titles including three Grand Slams and passage into the semi-finals of the 2011 World Cup.

PA

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