Wales happy for Warren Gatland to take British and Irish Lions role

Wales happy for Gatland to take Lions role… as long as he remains loyal to Dragons

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UPDATED:

08:07 GMT, 26 March 2012

The Welsh Rugby Union have endorsed coach Warren Gatland's Lions credentials, but are keen to ensure his work with them remains the top priority.

The New Zealander is the overwhelming favourite to lead the Lions to Australia next summer, especially after winning his second Grand Slam earlier this month.

WRU chief executive Roger Lewis admitted today that informal talks have been held, but has outlined his desire to ensure Gatland does not abandon his Wales duties by way of preparation for 2013 should he be given the nod.

Wanted man: Gatland's success with Wales has attracted British and Irish Lions

Wanted man: Gatland's success with Wales has attracted British and Irish Lions

'We have had informal discussions with the British and Irish Lions over the last few months and we have talked to Warren about this for the best part of a year,' Lewis told the Guardian.

'Warren does not have a clause in his contract which contains provision for him to coach the Lions, but we are hugely supportive of him and them.

'What I will say is that there is no question that Warren will not be leading Wales on our very important tour to Australia and I, personally, would like him to be involved in our autumn Tests against New Zealand and Australia in Cardiff.'

Grand Slam: Wales cleaned up at this year's championship

Grand Slam: Wales cleaned up at this year's championship