Warren Gatland: Wales coach backs Ireland counterpart Farrell to be British and Irish Lions coach

Warren Gatland: Wales coach backs Ireland counterpart Farrell to be British and Irish Lions coach

Andy Farrell was part of Warren Gatland’s Lions backroom team during the tour to New Zealand in 2017

Wales coach Warren Gatland has backed Ireland counterpart Andy Farrell to coach the British and Irish Lions on their tour to Australia in 2025.

Gatland is back for a second stint as Wales head coach while Farrell’s team are now ranked number one in the world.

Gatland led the Lions on consecutive tours to Australia (2013), New Zealand (2017) and South Africa (2021).

“If you are picking a Lions coach at the moment, there is only person that I think is in contention,” said Gatland.

“And he is across the water and living in Dublin at the minute. If you are successful, those opportunities come along.”

Farrell guided Ireland to a historic Test series triumph against New Zealand earlier this year and added the scalps of South Africa and Australia during an unbeaten Autumn Nations series campaign.

Gatland’s second spell as Wales head coach could incorporate the 2027 World Cup.

That might mean he is in the frame to lead the Lions for a fourth time.

“I hadn’t even thought about that [Lions tour]. I am just thinking about the next 10 months,” said Gatland on Tuesday.

“I am well aware of how important the Six Nations and World Cup are next year,” added the New Zealand native.

“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.”

Ireland at home first ‘not the worst thing’

Wales kick off their Six Nations campaign against Ireland in Cardiff on 4 February.

Ireland will arrive as the team heading the world rankings, and Gatland said: “It’s probably good, as they are the best team in the world, and rightly so.

“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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