Gatland is favourite to lead Lions in NZ

Warren Gatland is the favourite to lead the Lions again next year

British and Irish Lions chief executive John Feehan says that Wales head coach Warren Gatland is the “leading contender” to coach the British and Irish Lions in New Zealand next year

Gatland led the British and Irish Lions to a series victory in 2013 and having won the first tour since 1997 he is in line to lead the Lions again in 2017 when they tour New Zealand.

“It would be absolutely ludicrous of me to say that Warren would not be the leading contender — he clearly is,” Feehan said in an interview with Sky.

“If he is involved, it will be a third tour for him. He has a record that is pretty much second to none in the northern hemisphere and so he has to be the leading contender.”

Fifty-two-year-old New Zealander Gatland was also part of the 2009 Lions tour to South Africa so he has the experience of two Lions tours under his belt.

In 2017 the Lions will go on a 10-game tour of New Zealand which will include three Tests against the double Rugby World Cup champion All Blacks.

Gatland has been Wales coach since and under his guidance Wales have won three Six Nations titles, including two Grand Slams.

In 2011 Wales reached the Rugby World Cup semi-finals but were eliminated at the quarter final stage in 2015.

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