British & Irish Lions arrive home after stunning triumph in Australia
Last Updated: 10/07/13 10:26am
Warren Gatland: Lions coach will return to Wales duties
The triumphant British and Irish Lions have arrived home, just hours before the Ashes series begins.
After their thrilling 2-1 series victory over the Wallabies, Warren Gatland's men landed at Heathrow on Wednesday morning, handing over the baton to the England cricket team as they launch the Ashes campaign in Nottingham.
The Lions achieved only their fifth Test series victory in 125 years, and their first since 1997 in South Africa.
They won it with a stunning 41-16 in Sydney on Saturday, kick-starting a sensational weekend of sport which saw Andy Murray end Britain's 77-year wait for the men's singles title at Wimbledon and Chris Froome take the yellow jersey at the Tour de France.
Gatland made the biggest selection call of his career when he dropped Ireland legend Brian O'Driscoll, but he was fully vindicated.
Roared on by 30,000 supporters, the Lions ran in four tries and smashed the Australia scrum to pieces.
Gatland now believes they will head to New Zealand in 2017 with a strong chance of beating the All Blacks and he is open to the idea of leading the Lions for a second time.
Gatland will now return to his job as Wales coach and prepare them for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
He will take on Australia again later this year - the Wallabies will face England, Ireland and Scotland before rounding off their tour against Wales at the Millennium Stadium on November 30.