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British & Irish Lions
Gatland would 'relish' chance to lead the Lions home
ESPN Staff
December 4, 2013
Warren Gatland - ' It would be something I would relish' © Getty Images

Warren Gatland has said he would relish the chance to lead the British and Irish Lions when they tour New Zealand in 2017.

Gatland, who led the Lions to victory in Australia in the summer and was named UK Coach of the Year and High-Performance Coach of the Year at the 2013 UK Coaching Awards in London on Tuesday, said leading the Lions to his native New Zealand had great appeal.

"For me to go to New Zealand would be a great opportunity in 2017, but there is a huge amount of water to pass under the bridge before that. For me, the focus over the next couple of years is doing well for Wales. And if Wales do well in the Six Nations and the World Cup, then you put yourself in the frame to hopefully be asked again.

"You never know, and if I was asked to do it again and particularly in my own country, it would be something I would relish."

But he admitted that while the tour was "an amazing experience" the reaction to Brian O'Driscoll's axing shocked him. "I wasn't [prepared]," he said. "I think that people out in Australia weren't aware of the almost hysteria that created but that's sport and you've got to stand by your beliefs, put your hand on your heart and sometimes make some tough decisions."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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