Wales head coach Warren Gatland.
Wales head coach Warren Gatland. Akira Suemori

Wales coach Gatland reportedly keen to move home

WARREN Gatland intends to turn his back on Wales following the British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand, according to reports from the UK.

Gatland has been given an extended sabbatical from coaching Wales in order to focus on preparing for next summer's three-Test tour against the world champions, whose only series defeat to the Lions was back in 1971.

The Daily Mail is reporting that Gatland has alerted close friends of his plan to remain in New Zealand after the tour, having spent almost nine years living 19,000km from home in Wales and normally only seeing his family four times a year.

Gatland's departure would be a huge blow to Wales ahead of the 2019 World Cup.

The 53-year-old, who won the Grand Slam in his first season in charge in 2008, signed a six-year contract extension in 2013 understood to be worth more than $850,000, making him the best paid coach in world rugby.

However, he is understood to be ready for a return to his homeland, where he has a wife and two grown-up children.

His son Bryn, who was educated in London when Gatland snr coached at Wasps from 2001, is a promising flyhalf who could well line up for the Auckland Blues against the Lions after impressing for North Harbour this season.

APNZ



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