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On the mend: Gatland hopes to join Welsh midway through Australian tour

The Kiwi has also given assurances to the Lions that he’ll be ready to lead next year’s tour against the Wallabies.

Image: David Jones/PA Wire/Press Association Images

INJURED WALES COACH Warren Gatland is hoping to join up with Six Nations champions in time for their second Test against Australia in Melbourne next month.

Gatland was ruled out of the tour earlier this year after a fall at his holiday home in New Zealand left him with fractures in both heels, paving the way for assistant Rob Howley to lead Wales in Australia.

However Gatland told BBC television that he hopes to be fit enough to link up with the Welsh squad midway through their three-Test tour.

“I can assure you I am going to be right in a few weeks and be up and running around,” he said.

“At this stage, I’ll probably struggle to make Brisbane for the first Test. If I can be in Melbourne and Sydney for the second and third Tests, that will be great.

“As much as anything, just to go and have a little bit of an input, really, to support the coaches and players as much as anything.”

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Gatland is regarded as the overwhelming favourite to coach the British and Irish Lions on their tour of Australia in 2013, with the New Zealander reportedly offered the position in March.

Gatland said he had spoken to the Lions management who had sought assurances his injuries would not prevent him from taking on next year’s tour.

“I’ve spoken to the Lions, obviously. I think they are just waiting to have assurances that the injury is going to heal, that it’s not going to be a hindrance in 12 months,” he said.

© AFP, 2012

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