By Matthew Treadwell
Last Updated: 12/06/19 11:23pm
Warren Gatland has ruled out taking over from Eddie Jones as England head coach after it was confirmed he will lead the British and Irish Lions for a third time.
As expected, Gatland was officially revealed as the Lions coach for the 2021 tour of South Africa, having guided them to a winning 2013 series in Australia and a thrilling drawn series in New Zealand four years later.
The 55-year-old will step down from his role as Wales head coach after this year’s World Cup in Japan but he will not succeed Jones when he leaves the England role in 2021.
Jones had previously laughed off the notion of coaching the Lions by claiming “the last thing I want to do is spend eight weeks in a blazer” and in distancing himself from an England role, Gatland referenced the Australian’s comments.
Gatland to lead Lions for third time
Warren Gatland has been named British and Irish Lions head coach for the 2021 tour to South Africa.
“I can tell you definitively now I will not be coaching England, there is no way I will be coaching England unless I put a blazer on or something!” said Gatland.
“At the moment I am talking to a couple of people about what I am going to do post the Lions but there is nothing I have looked at signing or anything formal at the moment.
“My whole focus at the moment is about this role and planning and preparing Wales for the World Cup.
LISTEN: Gatland on Will Greenwood podcast
Warren Gatland joins Will and Rupert to look back on the key moments from his previous British and Irish Lions tours.
“After today I probably won’t think about this for the next six months in terms of doing the best job for Wales and maybe start thinking about what my other options are and what I am going to do.
“I think my coaching path’s going to take a different direction. I’d like to go back to New Zealand hopefully if there’s an opportunity in Super Rugby.”
The longest-serving Test boss also insisted leading the Lions has been his toughest challenge in rugby, revealing his surprise at Jones’ comments about coaching the touring side.
“I don’t know how you could coach a Lions team in a blazer,” he added. “I was bemused by that. It is one of the hardest things that I’ve ever had to do as a coach.
“Seeing how hard those other coaches worked on the last tour, with guys down in the team room at seven, eight in the morning until nine, 10 at night, planning and preparing as well as coaching two teams twice a day, getting ready for matches – it is the hardest thing.
“Whether that was a subtle way for him to rule himself out of contention or not, I don’t know.”