Warren Gatland oversaw a Six Nations Grand Slam for Wales this season, but will stand down from that role after this year’s World Cup in Japan. Photo: Rebecca Naden/Reuters

LONDON – Warren Gatland has reportedly agreed to become head coach of the British and Irish Lions for the tour to South Africa in 2021.

The Lions have moved swiftly to secure the Wales coach for a record third successive term, in the process ending the prospect of the Kiwi replacing Eddie Jones as England boss after the World Cup.

Although the contract has yet to be signed as Gatland is currently in New Zealand, a verbal agreement has been reached, reports said on Friday.

Gatland oversaw a Six Nations Grand Slam for Wales this season, but will stand down from that role after this year’s World Cup in Japan.

The former Ireland coach guided the Lions to a series win in Australia in 2013, and a drawn campaign against world champions New Zealand two years ago. 

He would complete the set of all Lions tour destinations with South Africa. 

A start date has yet to be finalised, but it is likely that the most successful coach in Six Nations history will take up the role a year out from the tour.

A spokesman for the Lions declined to comment.

AFP