‘Time to move on’: Gatland rules himself out of Lions duties for Australia tour – and nominates the best coach for the job


Warren Gatland has decided not to continue as head coach of the British and Irish Lions, and suggested Ireland coach Andy Farrell is the man to take on the 2025 tour of Australia.

Farrell was on Sunday named World Rugby coach of the year after leading Ireland to a Guinness Six Nations Grand Slam amid a 17-match winning run.

Gatland has been in charge of the Lions since the 2013 Australia tour, also leading the side during the 2017 tour of New Zealand and the South African tour in 2021.

“I have done my best for the Lions, but it is time to move on,” the New Zealander said in his column in the British newspaper, The Telegraph.

“A few weeks ago, I was asked by Nigel Walker, Wales’ director of rugby, if I was interested in putting my name forward to be head coach for the next tour in Australia in 2025.

“I told him I was not going to put my name forward. I told Nigel that I would have no problem if any of my support staff were to be asked to be involved as I would see it as a great experience for them.”

Gatland was also involved as assistant coach to Ian McGeechan in the 2009 tour of South Africa, and is currently head coach of Wales who he led to the quarter-final stage of the Rugby World Cup in France this month.

“I think it is the opportunity now for someone else to be head coach and Andy Farrell would have my backing for the job.

“You cannot deny what Ireland have achieved as a nation over the last few years. There is no doubt that Andy has done a fantastic job.”

Gatland led the Lions to a 2-1 win in Australia in 2013, a drawn series in New Zealand in 2017 and a 2-1 defeat in South Africa in 2021.

Warren Gatland. (Photo by Ben Birchall/PA Images via Getty Images)

Farrell was part of the 60-year-old’s coaching staff for the first two of those three tours.

The next Lions starts with a match against Western Force at Perth’s Optus Stadium on June 28 2025, with the series-opener against Australia at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium on July 19.

“If the next head coach wants to tap into my experiences from the last four tours, then I would still love to be involved in some way by passing on the knowledge and experience I have gained…,” Gatland said.

“For the Lions, it is the least I can do.”

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