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The man Warren Gatland is backing to lead the Lions in 2025

By Sam Smith
Wales coach Warren Gatland while in charge of the British and Irish Lions

Warren Gatland has rebuffed suggestions that he could take charge of an historic fourth British and Irish Lions tour in 2025.


After a run of poor results, Gatland has been reinstated as head coach of the Wales national side in place of fellow New Zealander Wayne Pivac, and is set to lead the side at next year’s Rugby World Cup in France.

That puts Gatland firmly in the frame to lead the Lions for a fourth time, having done the job in Australia (2013), New Zealand (2017) and South Africa (2021).

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The man himself, however, has suggested there’s one obvious candidate to take charge of the composite side in 2025, someone who’s proven themselves an excellent operator at Test level in recent years: Ireland head coach Andy Farrell.

“If you are picking a Lions coach at the moment, there is only one person that I think is in contention,” Gatland said, during a Principality Stadium press conference on Tuesday.

“And he is across the water and living in Dublin at the minute. If you are successful, those opportunities come along.”

Farrell has guided Ireland to top spot on the world rankings and overseen an historic Test series triumph over the All Blacks in New Zealand earlier this year.


Ireland added the scalps of South Africa and Australia during an unbeaten Autumn Nations Series campaign, reinforcing Farrell’s competence at dismantling even the best that the Southern Hemisphere has to offer.

“I hadn’t even thought about that (Lions tour),” Gatland said. “I am just thinking about the next 10 months.

“I am well aware of how important the Six Nations and World Cup are next year.

“I don’t plan my pathway. I am a believer of if you are in the right place at the right time, then opportunities come along. What will be, will be.”


Despite leading Wales to a Six Nations title in 2021, poor performances over the past 12 months have seen Pivac lose the head coach role with the World Cup less than a year away.

Gatland has a proven record with the passionate rugby nation, taking the team to four Six Nations titles (including three Grand Slams) and two World Cup semi-final finishes in 2011 and 2019. Following the most recent tournament, Gatland stepped away from the role to return to New Zealand but has now returned in order to help right the ship ahead of next year’s flagship tournament.


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