Rugby: Warren Gatland reveals why he declined an invitation to apply for All Blacks coaching role

  • 12/11/2019

You can count Warren Gatland out of All Blacks coaching contenders.

All will be revealed next month when a panel led by former World Cup-winning mentor, Sir Graham Henry, will be tasked with appointing Steve Hansen's successor.

The leading contenders include Jamie Joseph, Scott Robertson, Dave Rennie and Ian Foster, while Tony Brown has confirmed he wants to work with Joseph, regardless of next month's decision. 

Gatland, who returns to the New Zealand rugby fold next year when he takes over at the Chiefs, has a fine coaching resume. 

It includes multiple Six Nations crowns with Wales and two highly successful campaigns with the British and Irish Lions.

New Zealand Rugby chairman Brett Impey confirmed last week that 26 coaches were invited to apply for the coveted role. Speaking to The Telegraph, Gatland revealed he was one of the 26, but has decided to opt out given his commitment to the Chiefs and the 2021 Lions tour of South Africa.

"They appreciated it, they understood it," Gatland noted.

"I just think it would look poor me applying [for the All Blacks job]. It wouldn't sit well with me, having already made those commitments to the other two parties."

But the former All Blacks hooker made no secret of his desire to seek the top job in the future - a key reason for his decision to return to the Waikato. 

"The thing about the All Blacks is, going back to New Zealand, being involved in Super Rugby, seeing how the Lions go – in another couple of years with the Chiefs, if you're successful where you are, the opportunities come.

"I'm not saying 'how do I become the All Blacks coach?' That will happen if you do a good job and you're successful. That means that if I'm successful with the Chiefs, that opportunity might come along. Maybe it won't. It's not at the forefront of my thinking."

Gatland's 12-year tenure with Wales ended at the Rugby World Cup when his side lost the bronze medal match against the All Blacks.