Ever since it was announced that Warren Gatland would be leaving his post as head coach of Wales after the World Cup later this year, his next destination has always been a topic of discussion.
The New Zealander will be one of the most in-demand coaches on the planet, particularly after guiding Wales to their third Grand Slam under him earlier this year.
He had been hotly tipped to take over from Eddie Jones after the World Cup, should the Australian leave. However, after being revealed as the British and Irish Lions coach for the 2021 tour to South Africa, Gatland ruled himself out of contention with England.
However, some fans on Twitter are less convinced by this statement from Gatland and think it is impossible to rule anything out completely.
Warren Gatland has 'categorically' ruled out coaching England.
Full talkSPORT interview ? ??https://t.co/XSRsoTXbce
— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) June 12, 2019
The financial power that the Rugby Football Union has will always mean that Gatland could be tempted to take over England at some point. After all, they did what it took to lure Eddie Jones to the role after the 2015 World Cup when he was due to take over the Stormers.
Gatland is also renowned for his mind games, which some feel could still make him a candidate. He is still Wales’ coach, and the last thing the players or the nation would want leading into a World Cup is their coach suggesting he will move to their greatest rivals.
Therefore, for the sake of his team, Gatland’s statement on Wednesday was a wise choice even if it has not convinced everyone. This is what has been said:
If, in the Autumn of 2022 England offer him £10 million to take them through to the 2024 WC will he really say no?
— Tom Hiorns (@tomhiorns) June 12, 2019
Seems in today’s world you can never say never with these things. I know it’s pretty unlikely but if the RFU could persuade Jones to do one more year, Gatland could take over after the Lions.
— Olly Watson (@Olly_Watson98) June 12, 2019
Who’s to say after the British lions tour, he changes his mind. You can never say never.
— Victoria Squires (@VikkiSquires19) June 12, 2019
@tomjamesCardiff classic gatland mindgames.
— Padraig O'Neill (@PatcheSAM) June 12, 2019
— Glen Robertson (@e8776dfd72a44c8) June 12, 2019
If his rejection of the Lions 2021 appointment is anything to go by, I guess we'll be seeing him at Penny Hill pretty soon…
— Sam Deacon (@Deaco89) June 12, 2019
It does seem likely that if Gatland were to take over England, it would probably not be after this World Cup as he is likely to take another year out in preparation of the Lions series.
However, the prospect of him taking charge after 2023 is not beyond the realms of possibility despite his comment at his latest Lions unveiling in London.
WATCH: Part one of the two-part RugbyPass documentary on what fans can expect in Japan at this year’s World Cup
Sign up to our mailing list here and we’ll keep you up to the minute with weekly updates from the world of rugby.