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Lions coach for New Zealand to be announced next month

Credit: Nick Potts/PA

The British and Irish Lions are to name their head coach for next summer's tour to New Zealand on September 7.

Wales' Warren Gatland is expected to retain the position he held for the series triumph over Australia in 2013 when the chosen candidate is unveiled at a press conference in Edinburgh.

Wales fell to a 3-0 whitewash by New Zealand in June, but Gatland is an experienced and canny operator and keen to reprise a role he performed with distinction three years ago.

Furthermore, the Welsh Rugby Union has granted the 52-year-old Kiwi permission to take the eight-month sabbatical from his national post demanded by the Lions.

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Welsh Lions return home

Gatland could coach Lions again in 2017

Warren Gatland led the Lions to a first series win in 16 years. Credit: PA

Warren Gatland would not rule the possibility that he might coach the British and Irish Lions again, when they tour New Zealand in four years time.

The Kiwi is contracted to Wales until after the 2015 World Cup.

After 10 months away with the Lions, he will now return to Wales duty ready for four autumn internationals at the Millennium Stadium in November.

"There's a lot of water to go under the bridge before 2017. You get opportunities in life if you're part of successful environments and teams," Gatland said. "Winning a couple of Grand Slams with Wales and reaching the semi-final of the World Cup has given me this opportunity."

"I'm grateful for the chance and if it came up again then it's something I might look at."

Gatland came under heavy criticism for his selection decisions ahead of the decisive third Test against Australia, when he selected 10 Welsh players and left out veteran Ireland centre Brian O'Driscoll.

After the Lions stormed to a 41-16 win, he said: "I haven't taken a lot of pleasure out of this in terms of feeling vindicated. I haven't enjoyed the last 72 hours, it's been tough personally."

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