Warren Gatland to pip Joe Schmidt for Lions job
Warren Gatland will be unveiled next month as the head coach for the 2017 Lions summer tour to New Zealand, beating a late charge from Scotland coach Vern Cotter.
Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt, who has yet to inform the IRFU whether he will complete his final year with the country, was reluctant to commit to the expected 10-month sabbatical required.
The IRFU may still be asked about the availability of their new assistant coach Andy Farrell, as the Englishman has been pinpointed as a potential assistant to Gatland. Farrell formed part of the winning coaching line-up three years ago and was widely lauded for his impact with the squad.
England's Grand Slam-winning coach Eddie Jones, who had expressed a similar reluctance to Schmidt when asked about the Lions job, will, like Schmidt, be unenthusiastic if sounded out about a role as one of Gatland's assistants.
Welsh coach Gatland will become only the second coach to take the Lions reins for two successive tours, having led the tourists to victory in Australia three years ago.
Despite Cotter's late bid, Gatland's appointment is expected to be rubber-stamped at a press conference in Edinburgh on September 7.