Warren Gatland: Chiefs loss 'will not hurt Lions coach chances'

Warren Gatland
Warren Gatland's Wales reached the quarter-final of the 2015 World Cup
New Zealand v Wales (second Test)
Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington Date: Saturday, 18 June 2016 Kick-off: 08:35 BST
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, the BBC Sport app, Connected TV, and live text commentary on the BBC Sport website.

Warren Gatland's chances of becoming British and Irish Lions coach for next year's tour of New Zealand have not been damaged by Wales' thrashing by the Chiefs, says Lions chief John Feehan.

Gatland's side were beaten 40-7 by the Super Rugby team on Tuesday.

The New Zealander led the Lions to a 2013 tour win in Australia, and Feehan says his record speaks for itself.

"One game in Hamilton is neither here nor there in the overall scheme of things," he told BBC Scrum V Radio.

"It's so easy to just be negative about one result, it's got nothing to do with it. Look at Warren's CV, it's just a stunning CV."

Wales' summer fixtures:
11 June: New Zealand 39-21 Wales (Auckland)
14 June: Chiefs 40-7 Wales (Hamilton)
18 June: New Zealand (Wellington)
25 June: New Zealand (Dunedin)

Tuesday's defeat, in Gatland's home town, was against a side missing their eight All Blacks, though Wales made 14 changes and rested most of their front-line players.

Since Gatland, 52, became coach in 2007, Wales have won three Six Nations titles and two Grand Slams.

Beating the Wallabies was the Lions' first series win since the 1997 tour to South Africa.

Feehan has previously described Gatland as the "leading contender" for the three-Test Tour to his native New Zealand, with the Wales coach admitting the job would be "difficult to turn down".

The Lions, who have won just one series against the All Blacks in eight tours, will play three Tests against the world champions as well as facing all five of New Zealand's Super Rugby franchises.

Wales, beaten 39-21 by New Zealand in the first Test at Eden Park, play Steve Hansen's side again in Wellington on Saturday and are looking for a first win over the All Blacks since 1953.

2013 Lions celebrate beating Australia
The Lions beat Australia 41-16 in the third Test in 2013 under Gatland to clinch a 2-1 series win

Interviews for the Lions head coach role will take place after the summer tours, with an announcement due in September.

"There is a lot of rugby to played in the next little while and I wouldn't bet against Wales having a really good one this weekend," said Feehan.

England coach Eddie Jones has said he does not want to be considered for the Lions job.

The Australian led England to a Grand Slam in this year's Six Nations and is now targeting a series win in his home country after victory in Saturday's opening Test.

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"He was quite clear with us. He has said that he does not want to be involved," said Feehan.

"We need to respect his wishes. If Eddie wants to have a think otherwise, it's up to him basically.

"But for now we have got to respect the wishes that he has put out there publicly."


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