Warren Gatland expected to be named as the 2017 Lions head coach

The announcement takes place in Edinburgh on Thursday afternoon

Warren Gatland expected to be named as the 2017 Lions head coach

Warren Gatland. Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Warren Gatland is expected to be announced as the head coach of the British and Irish Lions ahead of next year's tour to New Zealand.

The tour will be Gatland's second in a row as head coach, after he led the team to a 2-1 series victory over Australia in 2013. He also worked in 2009 as an assistant coach under Ian McGeechan on the tour to South Africa.

Gatland's announcement has widely been expected, but the secret seemed to have been let out on Tuesday evening. An eagle-eyed Edinburgh resident saw the Wales head coach taking part in a photo call ahead of the announcement in the Scottish capital.

The reinstatement of Gatland as head coach, means he becomes the first man to lead a touring side two times in a row, since Ian McGeechan led the team on three successive tours in the 1980s and 1990s. 

The Lions will play ten matches in New Zealand next summer, beginning with a tour match against the New Zealand Barbarians on June 3rd in Whangarei. The First Test takes place in Auckland, three weeks later.

New Zealand have won nine of the last ten tests between the two sides, and have won the last four test series between the sides.

Gatland will become the first head coach in the history of the Lions to lead the team against his native country.