Six Nations: Gethin Jenkins wants Warren Gatland as Lions coach

Gethin Jenkins and Warren Gatland
Gethin Jenkins and Warren Gatland

Wales prop Gethin Jenkins believes his coach Warren Gatland is the man to take charge of the British and Irish Lions in Australia in 2013.

If Wales win the Six Nations title by beating France on Saturday it would be a second Grand Slam for 48-year-old New Zealander Gatland in five seasons.

And Jenkins said: "I think it would be great if he gets it."

Gatland was an influential member of Sir Ian McGeechan's coaching team when the Lions toured South Africa in 2009.

The Lions ultimately went down 2-1 to the Springboks in a memorable Test series.

And Jenkins, a Test Lion on the last two tours, believes Gatland has strong claims to do the top job, the identity of whom is due to be unveiled in April.

"He did a great job on the last tour," said Jenkins, who captained Wales to victory over Italy on Saturday. "He is a great coach and he has got the credentials for it.

"It was pretty old school on the last tour. We had some good enjoyment, but it was very serious at the same time."

Gatland's case to be Lions coach in Australia could be helped by the fact that he has a five-month break clause in his Wales contract, which could give him the chance to be part of the Lions party.

In October 2010, Gatland signed a contract extension with the Welsh Rugby Union that sees him in charge until after the 2015 World Cup.

That deal includes the five-month break from Wales duties, which Gatland stated at the time was to give him the chance to spend time at home in New Zealand.

However, the timing of the break in his contract coincides with the Lions tour schedule.

Jenkins and his playing colleagues will be hailed if they are confirmed as European champions on Saturday. But the 86 times-capped loosehead has also underlined Gatland's immense contribution for the way Wales have maintained momentum from their 2011 Rugby World Cup semi-final appearance in October.

"There is a real strong group of people behind Warren," said Jenkins. "The set-up is really good and he has got everything in place.

"I wouldn't say that training is over-complicated, but everyone knows their role and everyone knows the system.

"He gives the players confidence to go out there and perform, and he is also a very good man-manager.

"I wouldn't say there are many players he doesn't get on with at all, and he is always around in the environment speaking to players.

"He doesn't hide from things. If something needs to be said, he will say it, and I think the players know that."

Jenkins played key roles when Wales won the Grand Slam in 2005 and 2008 - prop Adam Jones and back-row forward Ryan Jones are also chasing a hat-trick - and he admits that the build-up to the France game will be about trying to block out the external hype.

"There is massive expectation on us this week," he said. "It has been a tough campaign, but everything we've put in leads up to winning this game on Saturday.

"The training is not going to be much different. It will be intense and geared to Saturday. The main thing is blocking out anything in the exterior.

"It is going to be talked up all week. Everyone knows that. It's a big chance for us to make history, and we are really looking forward to it.

"Twice I have been involved in previous Grand Slams, and the week has just flown by. It is not until a couple of months afterwards that you realise how big a deal it was and how much was actually on the game.

"The week takes care of itself. You are worried about your own job and making sure on the day you perform.

"They are six days you have got to savour. It's a short turnaround, so we have really got to get ourselves mentally and physically ready."

Top Stories