3 Sep 2012

Gatland in frame to take Lions role

3:17 pm on 3 September 2012

The Wales rugby boss Warren Gatland is the overwhelming favourite to be named as coach of the British and Irish Lions for next year's tour of Australia, when officials announce their choice on Wednesday.

The New Zealander has long been regarded as the front-runner for the job, but a freak accident five months ago almost put him out of the running.

Gatland was back home in New Zealand in April, shortly after guiding Wales to the second Six Nations Grand Slam of his tenure, when a fall from a ladder at his beach house left him with two fractured heels.

However last month Gatland said he was on the verge of signing up with the Lions.

Gatland would, if confirmed, be the second overseas coach to take charge of the Lions following Sir Graham Henry's visit to Australia in 2001.

The 48-year-old Gatland does have Lions experience, however, having been forwards coach under Ian McGeechan during the 2009 series loss in South Africa.