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Warren Gatland named Lions Head Coach

Warren Gatland has been announced as the Lions coach for the 2013 tour to Australia.

The worst kept secret in rugby was announced today in a news conference in central London where Gatland spoke of his pride in taking the job that is ‘the pinnacle of any coach’s career’.

Against a backdrop of evocative memories from Lions tours of previous years, Lions Chairman, Gerald Davies, took us through some of the history of the Lions as they prepare for what will be the Lions 125th anniversary when they tour.

Tour Manager Andy Irvine explained that Gatland had been appointed in April but due to his unfortunate injury, the announcement was delayed until now.

Gatland will now spend his time up to the start of the Autumn Internationals calling various potential coaching staff, with 2009 veterans Graham Rowntree, Shaun Edwards and Rob Howley all heavily linked with roles for the 2013 tour.

The Wales Head Coach explained his timetable for the year, saying that he will travel to Argentina to watch Australia this weekend, and that selection will be based in the main on the Autumn Internationals, the 6 Nations, and the later rounds of the Heineken Cup.

His coaching team will meet throughout the Autumn Internationals, and then again in December when he will also be going to Australia to asses training venues.

They will then come together again after the 6 Nations when preparations will begin in earnest.

The New Zealand born coach was under no illusions about the size of the task, or of the pride in the Lions, saying that he learnt a lot in 2009 about just how much the Lions means to players and coaches alike, speaking passionately about lessons learned from the great Sir Ian McGeechan.

There is no doubt that Gatland is aware of how much pressure they will come under in the provincial games, citing his own experience as a player in New Zealand in 1993 playing against the Lions.

The Lions now have their Head Coach, now the debate begins in earnest over the next nine months – who should he pick?

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