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Gatland: I'd love to stay coach of Lions

WARREN GATLAND has revealed he would be interested in leading the British and Irish Lions for the second time when they tour his native New Zealand in 2017.

The 50-year-old transferred the success he has enjoyed with Wales to the Lions this summer, guiding the tourists to their first series win in 16 years as they crushed Australia in the final Test to claim a 2-1 triumph.

That saw Gatland named UK coach of the year and high-performance coach of the Year at the 2013 UK Coaching Awards in London on Tuesday night.

Such was his experience of the Lions tour, Gatland would happily take the reins again, despite the criticism heaped on him after he dropped Brian O'Driscoll - a move which proved to be the right call.

"It was an incredible experience," he admitted. "To be involved, I was humbled and privileged. For me to go to New Zealand would be a great opportunity in 2017, but there is a huge amount of water to pass under the bridge before that.

"For me, the focus over the next couple of years is doing well for Wales. And if Wales do well in the Six Nations and the World Cup, then you put yourself in the frame to hopefully be asked again.

"You never know, and if I was asked to do it again and particularly in my own country, it would be something I would relish."

Gatland described the series as an "amazing experience" although he admitted he was shocked by the reaction to O'Driscoll's axing.

"I wasn't [prepared]," he said. "I think that people out in Australia weren't aware of the hysteria that created but that's sport and you've got to stand by your beliefs, put your hand on your heart and sometimes make some tough decisions."

For now, though, Gatland is concentrating on his bid to win the RBS 6 Nations with Wales for the third successive time.

"Three in a row . . ." he said. "That would be something special, so there is a lot of pressure we are putting on ourselves. We want to be able to do that, but it is going to be tough."

The Welsh Rugby Union also announced they will face the world's top three sides next autumn. They confirmed New Zealand, South Africa and Australia will all play at the Millennium Stadium in November, while Fiji will also visit.

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