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Gatland earmarks AWJ and Farrell as potential Lions captains

The departing Wales boss was confirmed as head coach for the 2021 tour today.

Gatland pictured in London today.
Gatland pictured in London today.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

WARREN GATLAND WAS officially unveiled as the British and Irish Lions head coach for the 2021 tour to South Africa today.

Gatland, who is leaving his role as Wales head coach after the World Cup, will begin official Lions duties in August 2020 and he left the door open for a short-term role to fill the gap.

“I’m hugely honoured and delighted to lead the Lions again,” said Gatland.

“It is exciting and a great challenge to coach the best players from the four Home Nations.”

Pushed for a potential captain if he were choosing the squad now, Gatland put the names Alun Wyn Jones and Owen Farrell forward at the London press conference.

“It’s got to be someone who has the respect of everyone in the squad,” said Gatland.

“Ideally you want someone to be coming from a successful team. Alun Wyn Jones comes to mind at the moment, Owen Farrell too. Potentially those two are players that you’d talk about.”

Alun Wyn Jones with Owen Farrell and Jaco Peyper at the coin toss Alun Wyn Jones and Farrell meet for the coin toss ahead of Wales' win over England in February. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

The Kiwi suggested that this will be his last tour as Lions head coach and his aim is to go undefeated in a Test series after a 2-1 win over Australia in 2013 and the 2017 draw in New Zealand.

Having been present as forwards coach in 2009, however, he knows it won’t come easy.

“I think there has been some improvement under Rassie Erasmus. They’ll be tough to beat. England found it tough when they went out there a couple of years ago. I’m expecting South Africa to be a challenging tour.

“In 2009 it was some of the most physical rugby that I’ve witnessed.”

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