Wales coach Warren Gatland has reportedly been retained to lead the British and Irish Lions for their 2017 tour of New Zealand. The 52-year-old is poised to be confirmed as the coach of the touring party for the second successive time in Edinburgh on Wednesday (7 September).
The New Zealand-born coach guided the Lions on their successful tour to Australia in 2013 and is set to return to the role next year, according to The Sunday Times. However, the Lions' tour to New Zealand – which will feature ten matches in total – is considered to be a more daunting task as they will be taking on the current world champions and the number one-ranked team on the planet.
Gatland has previously said the chance to coach the Lions again would be "difficult to turn down". But he also warned that the touring party would face an uphill task and said he would not be upset if he was overlooked for the role.
"It's the hardest place in the world to go and play, not just from a rugby perspective but from a travel and organisation perspective," Gatland said earlier this year, according to the BBC. "Looking at that schedule of New Zealand, if I wasn't involved it wouldn't bother me.
"It is such a tough schedule for five or six weeks – five Super Rugby sides, the New Zealand Maoris, three Tests and other games. There's probably a part of me that says please don't pick me to be the Lions coach. I'd rather go and enjoy it as a spectator."