Lions gain respect at home
12 July, 2017, 12:00 am
AUCKLAND – Warren Gatland will consider coaching the British and Irish Lions for a third time in 2021 but would want more time to prepare his players in South Africa than he had for the drawn series in New Zealand.
The 53-year-old now has a Lions coaching record rivalled only by the great Ian McGeechan after leading the tourists to a triumph in Australia four years ago and the stalemate with the All Blacks in an epic series over the last three weeks.
The Lions lost the first test 30-15, won the second 24-21 and drew the third 15-15 to share the series.
After speaking at length of his pride at what the squad had achieved in rugby’s “ultimate challenge”, and how he thought they had earned respect in his homeland, the New Zealander was asked about his own future.
He reaffirmed that the 2019 World Cup would bring an end to his time in charge of Wales before being asked whether he might want to complete “the set” of Lions tours in 2021.
Gatland said his ears had pricked up last week when he heard opposite number Steve Hansen talking about how “the sun would still come up” if New Zealand lost the third test.
“Those were comments you don’t hear very often.”