Warren Gatland
Gatland led the Lions to their first series win in 17 years in Australia

Wales head coach Warren Gatland has been backed to lead the British and Irish Lions once again in 2017 by WRU chief executive Roger Lewis.

Gatland signed a new six-year contract with Wales on Monday which will see him through the next two World Cups and provide the squad with coaching continuity right through to Japan 2019.

The highly esteemed New Zealander added another string to his bow this summer when he led the Lions squad to a 2-1 series victory in Australia, the first series win for 17 years.

With the Lions squad having such a significant Welsh influence in 2013, it is of no surprise that Lewis says he will do "everything he can" in the absence of a contractual break clause to help Gatland achieve a second series win. The 2017 Lions tour could see Gatland return to his New Zealand homeland.

"If the Lions want to consider Warren then we will certainly have that discussion," said Lewis.

Gatland, who was released by Wales in 2012 to carry out his Lions duties, has indicated he would welcome another opportunity to do so but admits that it will likely be dictated by his future success with Wales.

"The contract this time is exactly the same as what I had last time," said the former Ireland and Wasps coach.

"And I've spoken to Roger Lewis. If I had the opportunity to be involved [with the Lions] again, that's going to be because of Wales being successful in the next couple of years.

"If my whole focus and contemplation is on Wales, then if Wales are successful, you put yourself in the frame.

"Then after that it's potentially maybe the Lions approaching you, then it's negotiating release with the WRU," he explained.

While there are no guarantees, Lewis certainly seems open minded to the possibility of repeating the cycle once more: "We will do everything we can to support as we did in 2013. We will do the same for 2017."

In Gatland's absence, Rob Howley led Wales to the Six Nations championship last spring before joining the 50 year old's back room team in the summer.

Whatever happens, it seems that, Lions or no Lions, Gatland's blood will certainly run red for the foreseeable future.