Warren Gatland Reveals He’s Held Talks With Provincial Coach About Lions Role
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British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland has revealed he has held talks with Leinster coach Stuart Lancaster about a potential role ahead of next summer’s tour of South Africa.
Lancaster has been a revelation at Leinster since joining the Irish province back in 2016 and is one of several people Gatland has spoken to as he looks to assemble his coaching ticket to take on the Springboks.
Speaking on the Will Greenwood podcast on Monday, Gatland admitted he has “huge amount respect for Lancaster” who he believes has improved massively as a coach since landing in Dublin.
“I’ve spoken to Stuart and we’ve had a couple of conversations,” Gatland told Will Greenwood and Rupert Cox.
“I think you’ve got to take your hat off to Stuart. He finished with England, then he’s gone away and he’s done some professional development; gone around and looked at other sports, and then he’s taken up this role with Leinster.
“There’s no doubt what he’s done and the impact that he’s had since his time with Leinster. He’d say that he’s definitely improved as a coach and I have a huge amount of respect for him.”
Gatland said he also spoke to Lancaster before the 2017 tour of New Zealand and the next step is to speak to the four unions and see who is available to take up a role with the Lions and it appears Lancaster is certainly on his wishlist.
“We met before the last tour and he spoke to me about his opinions on the Leinster players and the Irish players and gave me an insight into them and I appreciated that,” Gatland added.
“He’s definitely one person that I’ve spoken to and had a couple of conversations with him, but there’s a number of other people that I’ll be looking to talk to
“The first step is to get clarity from unions and the bosses and then potentially club CEOs about who is available, who isn’t available.
“If you weren’t picking someone from an international setup and you were looking at someone from a club setup, then you’ve got to look at what’s their availability in terms of that timing of the year and they’ve got club games on and you’ve got selection meetings and all those sorts of things.
“So there’s a lot of things, a huge number of things to consider, and hopefully in the next couple of months we will be able to put all that together.”
Lancaster meanwhile has previously stated that he would potentially be interested in a role with the Lions, stating that “everyone as a coach would ultimately want to test themselves at the highest level.”