Sport Rugby

Monday 20 November 2017

Gatland given Lions promise

Warren Gatland has revealed that he has a gentleman's agreement with Welsh Rugby Union boss Roger Lewis to be released if he is asked to coach the Lions in 2017.

Wales boss Gatland (50) signed a new six-year contract on Monday, committing his long-term future to the WRU. He is already Wales' longest-serving coach, and this new deal will extend his tenure to 12 years.

Former Ireland and Wasps coach Gatland said there is no clause written into his new contract that allows a sabbatical to coach the Lions.

But the series-winning 2013 Lions coach said Lewis has pledged to do "everything he can" to help Gatland lead the best of British and Irish in his native New Zealand in 2017.

Gatland handed the Wales reins to Robert Howley for the 2012/13 season as he prepared for the Lions' tour to Australia this year. And it looks likely the former Waikato hooker could do the same in 2016/17.

Gatland said: "Roger has said to me even though there's not a release in my contract, he will do everything he can to help support me, and to hopefully make it happen if I did happen to get offered that position again."

Irish Independent

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