Warren Gatland named British and Irish Lions head coach
WARREN Gatland is prepared for a massive challenge after being confirmed as the British and Irish Lions head coach for the 2013 tour of Australia.
The Lions will tackle Australia in a three-Test series as part of a ten-match tour, which opens on June 1.
“There is no question it will be one hell of a challenge,” Gatland said.
“Playing in the southern hemisphere is one of rugby’s hardest challenges.
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“The Lions came close in South Africa (in 2009) and our ambition is to win the series in 2013 — and I believe we have the players to do that.”
Gatland, 48, will coach Wales in their autumn Tests against New Zealand and Australia but otherwise he will be seconded full-time to the Lions.
Gatland is expected to confirm his full coaching team in October.
“I am really honoured to have been asked to take the position of head coach,” Gatland added.
Rob Howley will now be in charge of Wales as caretaker coach for the first two autumn series games against Samoa and Argentina and for the entire RBS 6 Nations Tournament in 2013.
"It is an honour and a privilege to have been asked to continue as head coach of Wales in my caretaker role for this extended period," he said.
"I am also delighted for Warren who thoroughly deserves to have been selected to coach the British and Irish Lions on their 2013 tour.
"I thoroughly enjoyed my experience of heading up the coaching team over the summer and now I am looking forward to building on that during the months ahead.
"Work is already well advanced in preparation for the Autumn and I know we have some great games to look forward to against some of the toughest opposition in the world game.
"I want to thank the Welsh Rugby Union for offering me this opportunity and I look forward to the challenges that lie ahead."