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Gatland confirmed as Lions Head Coach for record third stint

Earlier this year he masterminded his third Grand Slam and fourth Six Nations Championship for Wales. Credit: David Davies/PA Wire/PA Images

Wales boss Warren Gatland has been officially confirmed as Head Coach of the British and Irish Lions for a record third time.

Gatland, who is stepping down from his role in Wales after this year's World Cup, will lead the Lions on their 2021 tour to South Africa.

Credit: David Davies/PA Wire/PA Images

The 55-year-old Kiwi was in charge for the previous two Lions trips. He oversaw victory in Australia in 2013 and a drawn series in New Zealand two years ago.

Another tour will see him complete the set of Lions destinations in the top job, although he was also involved in the last series in South Africa, as forwards coach, in 2009.

The decision was confirmed at a press conference in London. Credit: Adam Davy/PA Wire/PA Images

Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) Chief Executive, Martyn Phillips, said the confirmation was a sign of Gatland's success.

It is a sign of the success Warren has had with Wales in the past twelve years that he is taking on the role of Lions Head Coach for a third time.

– Martyn Phillips, Chief Exec WRU

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The appointment had been verbally agreed in May but was officially confirmed today.

Gatland's services are in high demand after another successful season with Wales. Earlier this year the former Ireland coach masterminded his third Grand Slam and fourth Six Nations Championship title since taking up the Welsh reins in 2007.

The New Zealander will take up his role with the Lions next August, giving him the best part of a year to plan the trip, expected to feature a reduced itinerary of 8 games in 5 weeks.

Wales beat England 21-13 in the 2019 Six Nations tournament. Credit: PA

At one point Gatland had been favourite to succeed Eddie Jones as England coach.

Jones is contracted with England until 2021 but with a break clause that can be activated depending on performance at the World Cup.

Read more on Welsh Rugby here.