Gatland: Farrell the only contender for British and Irish Lions job

By Sports Desk December 13, 2022

Wales head coach Warren Gatland says Ireland counterpart Andy Farrell is the only real contender to lead the British and Irish Lions on their tour to Australia in 2025.

Gatland was in charge of the Lions on consecutive tours in 2013, 2017 and 2021.

The 59-year-old's shock return as Wales boss last week means he may now be in the running for the next tour in two and a half years' time.

However, Gatland believes on current credentials, Farrell is perfectly suited for the role following his impressive work with Ireland.

"If you are picking a Lions coach at the moment, there is only one person that I think is in contention," he told reporters. "He is across the water and living in Dublin at the minute. 

"If you are successful, those opportunities come along. I hadn't even thought about [the Lions tour]. I am just thinking about the next 10 months.

"I am well aware of how important the Six Nations and World Cup are next year.

"I don't plan my pathway. I am a believer of if you are in the right place at the right time, then opportunities come along. What will be, will be."

Farrell oversaw a historic Test series triumph against New Zealand in July and then added the scalps of South Africa and Australia in November.

Ireland are top of the world rankings, whereas Wales are down in ninth on the back of a poor year that led to the dismissal of Wayne Pivac.

Gatland has been tasked with turning things around in his second spell at the helm, with a showdown against Ireland first up in Wales' 2023 Six Nations opener on February 4.

"Facing them first is probably good, as they are the best team in the world, and rightly so," Gatland said.

"Getting them first up at home is not the worst thing. It's a tournament of momentum. You win your first game and you've got a good chance of doing well.

"To get them first up, it's probably the one game you want at home – playing against the best team where there is probably a bit more pressure on them.

"I think we will be pretty excited about getting ready for the game."

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