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Warren Gatland set to lead British and Irish Lions head coach for South Africa tour

Gatland will take charge of the Lions for a record-equalling third successive tour

British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland during the first test of the 2017 British and Irish Lions tour at Eden Park, Auckland.
Image: Warren Gatland is set to be reappointed British and Irish Lions coach for the tour of South Africa

Warren Gatland is set to be named British and Irish Lions head coach on Wednesday for the 2021 tour to South Africa.

Gatland will leave his role as Wales coach after this year's World Cup in Japan and will become only the second person after Sir Ian McGeechan to take charge of the Lions on three consecutive tours.

The 55-year-old led the Lions to victory on their 2013 tour of Australia, with the 2017 tour of his native New Zealand finishing all-square after the decisive third Test ended in a thrilling 15-15 draw at Eden Park in Auckland.

The appointment is set to be confirmed at a press conference in London.

Sky Sports News reported last month a verbal agreement had been reached with the Lions.

It is not yet clear when Gatland would take up the role, but it is likely he would assume responsibilities around 10 months to a year before the tour.

Warren Gatland, Head Coach of Wales looks on during the Wales Captain's Run at the Principality Stadium on November 09, 2018 in Cardiff, Wales.
Image: Gatland will leave his job as Wales head coach after this year's World Cup in Japan

Gatland won his third Six Nations Grand Slam with Wales this year and has been named as a possible successor to Eddie Jones when he steps down as England head coach in August 2021.

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But with the RFU keen to have Jones' replacement work alongside him in the final year of his contract to help with continuity in the role, Gatland appears unlikely to be willing to work under someone he has had a professional rivalry with in international rugby.

Gatland will coach the Barbarians against Wales in their first match under Wayne Pivac.

He has been appointed Baa-Baas coach for the fixture against Wales at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff on November 30.

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