Gatland poised for Lions job
Wales coach is favourite to take charge in Australia next year
Last Updated: 19/03/12 3:28pm
Warren Gatland: stock on the rise after overseeing another Grand Slam campaign for Wales
Warren Gatland looks set to be confirmed next month as head coach of the 2013 British and Irish Lions.
Wales' double Grand Slam and RBS Six Nations title-winning mastermind will be interviewed for the post along with Ireland boss Declan Kidney and Scotland's Andy Robinson.
But it is thought that New Zealander Gatland's appointment is viewed as a formality for the three-Test trip to Australia.
If Gatland, who was a key member of the Lions coaching staff in South Africa three years ago under Sir Ian McGeechan, lands the job, it is understood that current Wales assistant Rob Howley will take charge of next season's Six Nations campaign.
That would allow Gatland to run the rule over tour squad candidates, free from Wales commitments, with the Welsh Rugby Union's full backing.
Gatland, 48, confirmed his status as the red hot Lions favourite by adding another impressive entry to his career coaching portfolio with Wales' latest Grand Slam triumph.
During four years at the helm, he has won two Six Nations titles, Grand Slams and Triple Crowns with Wales, in addition to a World Cup semi-final
appearance last autumn - Wales' best performance on a global stage since 1987.
It would be a huge surprise if he does not land the Lions job for a tour highlighted by three Tests against Australia and one that starts in Hong Kong against the Barbarians.
And among those who could realistically expect coaching support roles would be Wales defence specialist Shaun Edwards and England forwards guru Graham Rowntree.
Gatland, meanwhile, was due to be back on public duty on Monday as celebrations continued in Cardiff following the Six Nations triumph.
The Welsh Government staged a reception for Wales' Grand Slam heroes at the Senedd in Cardiff Bay, when children from local schools were involved in a Six Nations trophy presentation ceremony to First Minister Carwyn Jones, who formally handed it to the squad.
The Wales players will head back to their regions this week before reassembling for Test duty in late May ahead of facing the Barbarians in Cardiff on June 2.
Gatland's squad then head Down Under to tackle Australia in Brisbane a week later, followed by further Tests in Melbourne and Sydney. They also meet the Brumbies in Canberra on June 12.
Wales have not beaten the Wallabies in Australia since 1969, when a team captained by lock Brian Price triumphed 19-16.