Gatland to coach the Lions in South Africa in 2021

Gatland to coach the Lions in South Africa in 2021

Warren Gatland was officially named on Wednesday as the British and Irish Lions head coach for their 2021 tour to South Africa.

Gatland, who coached Wales to the Grand Slam this year, will step down as head coach of Wales after the World Cup in Japan later this year.

He will start his official Lions duties in August 2020, although there will undoubtedly be much planning done before then.

It will be the 55-year-old New Zealander’s third consecutive tour as head coach after winning the 2013 series in Australia and drawing with New Zealand in 2017. He was also assistant to Ian McGeechan in South Africa in 2009.

"I'm hugely honoured and delighted to lead the Lions again," said Gatland. "It is exciting and a great challenge to coach the best players from the four Home Nations.

"The Lions rightly have a truly special place in the game and I jumped at the chance to be involved again when I was approached about the role. South Africa is a special place to play rugby.

"Having toured there in 2009 I know the scale of the task ahead of us - playing in South Africa presents a number of unique challenges such as playing at altitude, while the Boks will always be physical, aggressive and highly motivated.

"History tells you it's a tough place to tour but I am 100 percent confident that we can go there and win. I would not be here if I thought differently."