Warren Gatland: 'I can promise you 100% I won't be coaching England'

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I can promise you 100% I will not be coaching England - Gatland

Warren Gatland has categorically ruled out succeeding Eddie Jones as England coach and plans to return to his native New Zealand after leading the British and Irish Lions in 2021.

Gatland was confirmed on Wednesday as Lions boss for the tour of South Africa, his third in charge.

He says he then plans to return home, and expects Jones to extend his stay at Twickenham.

"I can promise you 100% I won't be coaching England," he told BBC Sport.

"My understanding is Eddie is going to re-sign isn't he for a bit longer.

"My future is going to be the 2019 World Cup [with Wales], look at a few things in between, and then the start of my [Lions] role in August 2020.

"I'll focus 100% on the Lions for those 12 months and then hopefully have an opportunity to go back to New Zealand and pick up something and then take it from there."

Gatland has been coaching in the northern hemisphere for the best part of thirty years, and has held roles with Connacht, Ireland, Wasps, as well as his current position with Wales.

But he plans to call an end to his stint in Europe after the Lions tour, and has eyed up a job in Super Rugby.

"I would love to be involved with Super Rugby and to challenge myself with that," he added.

"I want to go back. I have been head coach with Waikato and won a championship there, and I want to challenge myself with Super Rugby."

Warren Gatland
Gatland led Wales to their fourth Six Nations championship this year

In March, England coach Jones ensured he would not be considered for a Lions position, saying the role is an "ambassador job" and he did not want to "spend eight weeks in a blazer".

"I don't know how you could coach a Lions team in a blazer," said Gatland.

"I was bemused by that. It is one of the hardest things that I've ever had to do as a coach.

"Seeing how hard those other coaches worked on the last tour, with guys down in the team room at seven, eight in the morning until nine, 10 at night, planning and preparing as well as coaching two teams twice a day, getting ready for matches - it is the hardest thing.

"Whether that was a subtle way for him to rule himself out of contention or not, I don't know."

Lions Job - 'Best in the world'

Shortly after the tour of New Zealand, Gatland stated he was "done" with the Lions, stung by an "orchestrated campaign" of criticism from the Kiwi media.

However, he insists coaching the Lions is the best job in the world, and says he would have regretted not taking the opportunity to resume the role.

"When I thought about what the Lions meant to me personally, it would have been hard to say no," he said.

"The approach came and I thought to lead three Lions tour and to try and go undefeated as a head coach in a Test series, I couldn't walk away from that."

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