Warren Gatland rejects New Zealand overtures out of loyalty to British and Irish Lions and Chiefs
Last Updated: 11/11/19 10:09pm
Warren Gatland says he rejected the chance to apply to be the new New Zealand head coach as he is committed to leading the British and Irish Lions and the Chiefs.
Gatland stepped down from his role in charge of Wales after guiding them to the semi-finals of the Rugby World Cup and will lead the British and Irish Lions on their 2021 tour of South Africa. He will also coach the Chiefs in Super Rugby from next season.
But despite the offer from his home nation to apply for the All Blacks job, Gatland felt unable to let down the sides he had already agreed to coach by applying to take over from Steve Hansen, who also left his job after taking his side to the last-four in Japan.
"I was asked to apply for the position now and I've gone back to them to say I won't be putting my name forward, because at this point I've made a commitment to the Chiefs and I've made a commitment to the Lions," Gatland told The Telegraph.
"They appreciated it, they understood it. I just think it would look poor me applying [for the All Blacks job]. It wouldn't sit well with me, having already made those commitments to the other two parties."
Gatland insists that will not ruin his chances of one day coaching New Zealand, insisting success with the Lions and the Chiefs will stand him in good stead.
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"The thing about the All Blacks is, going back to New Zealand, being involved in Super Rugby, seeing how the Lions go - in another couple of years with the Chiefs, if you're successful where you are, the opportunities come," he added.
"I'm not saying 'how do I become the All Blacks coach?' That will happen if you do a good job and you're successful.
"That means that if I'm successful with the Chiefs, that opportunity might come along. Maybe it won't. It's not at the forefront of my thinking."