Warren Gatland has been confirmed as the Head Coach for the British and Irish Lions to New Zealand in 2017. The Wales coach will take charge of his second Lions tour after leading the side to a series victory over Australia in 2013.
The British Lions will head to New Zealand next year knowing they face the most daunting task in international sport – beating the Kiwi’s in their own backyard. The reigning World Champions haven’t lost a home game since 2009 and haven’t lost a series to The Lions since 1971.
On the announcement Gatland said: “It’s a huge honour when you get offered probably the biggest job in world rugby against the best opposition in world rugby. It’s very difficult to walk away from it.”
Gatland has amassed an impressive CV throughout his coaching career with Wasps, Wales and the British Lions; but this will be without doubt the biggest challenge he has ever faced.
— British&Irish Lions (@lionsofficial) September 7, 2016
Ahead of the biggest event in rugby players from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales will be looking to catch Gatland’s eye especially when the southern hemisphere sides visit for the 2016 Autumn Internationals.
Gatland has said that he will name his coaching team on December 7th saying: “I haven’t had much time to think about that. What we’ve learned is you want continuity [from [previous Lions tours] because there’s limited preparation time.
“But it’s always important to have fresh faces and ideas. We’re looking to name the support staff on 7 December.”
Potential British and Irish Lions Starting XV
Rugby fans up and down the country will now be starting to write-down their British Lions starting XV for the 1st Test – and at Eventmasters we are no different. So here is the starting XV we would select.
- Mako Vunipola (England)
- Dylan Hartley © (England)
- WP Nel (Scotland)
- Alun Wyn-Jones (Wales)
- Maro Itoje (England)
- Taulupe Faletau (Wales)
- Sean O’Brien (Ireland)
- Billy Vunipola (England)
- Conor Murray (Ireland)
- Owen Farrell (England)
- Antony Watson (England)
- Jonathan Davies (Wales)
- Jonathan Joseph (England)
- George North (Wales)
- Stuart Hogg (Scotland)
British & Irish Lions Schedule – New Zealand 2017
3 June – Provincial union team (Toll Stadium, Whangarei)
7 June – Blues (Eden Park, Auckland)
10 June – Crusaders (AMI Stadium, Christchurch)
13 June – Highlanders (Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin)
17 June – Maori (International Stadium, Rotorua)
20 June – Chiefs (Waikato Stadium, Hamilton)
24 June – New Zealand (First Test, Eden Park, Auckland)
27 June – Hurricanes (Westpac Stadium, Wellington)
1 July – New Zealand (Second Test, Westpac Stadium, Wellington)
8 July – New Zealand (Third Test, Eden Park, Auckland)