Gatland tipped to retain Lions job

by AFP

The British and Irish Lions coach will be announced on September 7, the team's management revealed on Monday, with New Zealander Warren Gatland expected to continue in the role.

Wales head coach Gatland, 52, led the Lions to glory in Australia three years ago -- their first overseas success since 1997 -- and British media have tipped him to remain in place for next year's tour of New Zealand.

The Lions celebrate their 2013 series victory. Photo: Getty Images

Australian Eddie Jones, who led England to a Six Nations Grand Slam and a series win in Australia this year, ruled himself out of the running in June, saying he was "completely unavailable".

Jones, 56, wants to focus on preparing England for the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

England coach Eddie Jones has ruled out coaching the Lions in 2017. Photo: Getty Images

Another contender for the role is New Zealander Joe Schmidt, the current Ireland head coach.

But after leading Ireland to Six Nations success in 2014 and 2015, a third-place finish this year saw his stock fall and he reportedly does not have a release clause in his contract.

England hooker Dylan Hartley and Wales second row Alun Wyn Jones are the two principal candidates for the captaincy.