Warren Gatland denies reports he's set to quit Wales after 2017 Lions tour

Warren Gatland (Photosport)
Warren Gatland (Photosport)

British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland has denied reports that he will quit from the Wales head coaching role and stay in New Zealand following June's Lions tour.

The New Zealand-born coach has been given an extended sabbatical from coaching Wales in order to focus on the Lions tour to New Zealand.

Reports out of the UK suggested Gatland had alerted close friends of his plans to remain in New Zealand after the tour.

Gatland has reportedly found it difficult being away from his family for such a significant amount of time. His son Bryn currently plays for North Harbour in the Mitre 10 Cup.

The 53-year-old told Newshub that the news was "the first he'd heard of that" and hit out at the source of the report.

"That's the first I've heard of that, is that the same people who's saying that James Haskell is dead?"

Former Wales and Lions prop Dai Young has been identified as the likely replacement for Gatland if he does decide to remain in New Zealand.

Young has been the head coach of England club side Wasps since 2011.

Gatland has been the head coach of Wales since 2007, and coached the Lions to a tour victory over Australia in 2013.

The former Waikato hooker signed a contract extension in December 2013 to remain head coach of Wales until after the 2019 World Cup in Japan.