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Warren Gatland keen to lead Lions in New Zealand in 2017 despite tough 72 hours personally

Updated: Sunday, 07 Jul 2013 21:28 | Comments

Warren Gatland: "If I was given the opportunity to do the Lions in New Zealand in 2017 I would jump at that opportunity."
Warren Gatland: "If I was given the opportunity to do the Lions in New Zealand in 2017 I would jump at that opportunity."

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Warren Gatland would "jump at the opportunity" to take charge of the Lions for a second time, in his native New Zealand.

The Wales boss said in the aftermath of the Lions' series-clinching 41-16 win over Australia yesterday he was "shocked" by the "vitriolic" response to his team selection for the game, as fans and former players reacted to the omission of centre Brian O'Driscoll.

But it seems that has not put him off a second stint in charge when the Lions head to his homeland in 2017.

He told the Mail on Sunday: "If I was given the opportunity to do the Lions in New Zealand in 2017 I would jump at that opportunity - 100 per cent.

"It would be a massive honour and extra special to take them to my home country."

Gatland admitted yesterday he had been taken aback by the strength of the criticism of his decision to leave Ireland centre O'Driscoll out of his matchday 23.

"I was absolutely shocked by what was said. It was vitriolic almost in terms of the criticism," Gatland said.

"I haven't taken a lot of pleasure out of this in terms of feeling vindicated. I haven't enjoyed the last 72 hours, it's been tough personally."

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