Warren Gatland in line to lead 2021 Lions to South Africa

Wales coach the favourite to retain role after successful tours in 2013 and 2017

Warren Gatland is set to be reappointed as head coach of the British and Irish Lions for their 2021 tour to South Africa. The Wales coach is understood to be the Lions' preferred choice having taken charge of the two previous expeditions to Australia in 2013 and New Zealand in 2017.

Gatland, 55, also served as forwards coach under Ian McGeechan when the Lions last toured South Africa in 2009. Having most recently masterminded Wales's 2019 Six Nations grand slam, he has been seen as the leading candidate for some time and the Lions board hopes to finalise arrangements within the next month.

Touring with the Lions in 2021 would not, in theory, rule Gatland out of contention for the England coaching job when Eddie Jones’s tenure draws to a close. For the moment, however, the Lions are not formally confirming his appointment.

“As with any thorough recruitment process it is confidential and it is therefore not appropriate to discuss until an appointment is made,” said a Lions spokesperson. - Guardian