London: New Zealander Warren Gatland will lead the British and Irish Lions for the third time after being named on Wednesday as head coach for the 2021 tour of South Africa.

Gatland, who led the Lions to a series victory over Australia in 2013 and a drawn series against New Zealand in 2017, was widely expected to be given the role despite saying two years ago that it was time for someone else.

He was also an assistant to Ian McGeechan when the Lions last toured South Africa, losing the 2009 series 2-1. They won their previous series there, also under McGeechan, in 1997.

Gatland, 55, will stand down as Wales coach after this year’s Rugby World Cup in Japan having become the country’s longest-serving coach (12 years) and leading them to three Grand Slams. Wales won the Six Nations championship earlier this year.