The Lions will announce their new head coach next month

The three-test tour to New Zealand takes place in June and July 2017

The Lions will announce their new head coach next month

Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Photosport/Andrew Cornaga

The British and Irish Lions hierarchy have revealed the time-frame for hiring their head coach for next year's tour to New Zealand.

Warren Gatland's successor will be announced on September 7th, in just over two-and-a-half weeks time. There is still a realistic chance that Gatland could be given the chance to take the reigns for the second tour in a row.

The time-frame follows the same pattern that was used four years ago. Gatland was named as the coach for the 2013 Tour to Hong Kong and Australia in September 2012.

Fresh off their 2-1 series win in Australia four years ago, the invitational side travel to the World champions for the first time since 2005's 3-0 whitewash.

The 2005 series is widely remembered as on of the most disastrous Lions tours in recent memory. Coached by Clive Woodward, the expanded squad were split into to as separate teams played in the midweek and weekend matches.

Joe Schmidt, Warren Gatland and Vern Cotter are among the leading contenders for the job. England head coach Eddie Jones has already ruled himself out of taking charge of the team.

The team's first match takes place on a Provincial Union XV on June 3rd.