Warren Gatland was today announced as Head Coach for the 2017 British & Irish Lions Tour to New Zealand at a press conference from Standard Life House, Edinburgh.
The Wales head coach will be in charge of the Lions for a second successive tour, having lead the side to a first series win in 16 years with a 2-1 victory over Australia in 2013.
Former England and Lions player, and 2017 Tour Manager, John Spencer said: “We are delighted to have Warren as Head Coach for a second Tour. His international track record speaks for itself and he also understands the essence of the Lions and how to unite four nations in one purpose. Warren is acutely aware of the challenges we will face in New Zealand and we are confident he is the right man to lead us to a series victory.”
Gatland will start immediately, flying to New Zealand tomorrow to take in the All Blacks game against Argentina this weekend, and work exclusively with the Lions until the end of 2017's Tour. It is expected that Rob Howley will temporarily take over Wales coaching duties for the 2016 Autumn Tests and 2017 RBS Six Nations.
The Lions face 10 games when they head to New Zealand, a schedule which has been much-criticised by coaches, players and pundits. They open with a game against a Provincial Union XV, before taking on all 5 New Zealand-based Super Rugby sides, the Maori All Blacks and 3 Tests against the All Blacks, who haven't lost on home soil since 2017.
3 June v Provincial Union XV
7 June v Blues
10 June v Crusaders
13 June v Highlanders
17 June v Maori All Blacks
20 June v Chiefs 24 June v New Zealand, FIRST TEST
27 June v Hurricanes
1 July v New Zealand, SECOND TEST
8 July v New Zealand, THIRD TEST
The official Canterbury British & Irish Lions range for 2017 will be released from next month, but we currently have a full range of officially licensed Sportfolio and Rhino t-shirts, rugby jerseys, caps and rugby balls instore and online at rugbystuff.com.