Gatland confirmed as Lions coach

Warren Gatland will coach the British and Irish Lions on the tour of his native New Zealand next year.

The 52-year-old led the Lions to a 2-1 victory in Australia three years ago and the Wales head coach has been charged with the task of attempting to claim a series triumph against the world champions in his homeland.

"It's a huge honour to get offered the biggest job in world rugby against the biggest team in world rugby," said Gatland. "When I was offered the job it was a definite yes straight away.

"I'm incredibly excited; I wouldn't be here if I didn't think we were capable of going to New Zealand and winning."

Gatland revealed that he had not decided the make-up of his backroom staff for a demanding tour which will include three Tests against the All Blacks and another seven matches, but looks set to go for a combination of familiar faces as well as new coaches.

When asked if he already knows who will assist him in New Zealand, Gatland said: "I haven't really had much time to think about that at the moment.

"I think the important thing is you want some continuity, but also important to get some fresh faces and fresh ideas. We are looking to name the back-up and management team on December 7."

Gatland will fly to his country of birth on Thursday to watch Steve Hansen's all-conquering side take on Argentina in the Rugby Championship on Saturday as well as South Africa a week later.

New Zealand consigned Gatland's Wales to a 3-0 series whitewash in June and retained the Bledisloe Cup last month by easing to victory in their first two Rugby Championship matches against Australia.

The Lions will face a Provincial Union XV in their first game of the tour on June 3 and the first Test will be staged at Eden Park on June 24.