Warren Gatland linked with coaching job in France

Warren Gatland

Warren Gatland has been linked to a return to coaching in the Northern Hemisphere with French club Lyon next season.

French publication RMC Sport have reported that current Lyon head coach Pierre Mignoni will leave his position with the Top 14 club at the end of the season, and that Gatland could take over.

RMC say that several foreign coaches, including Gatland, have offered their services to Lyon in recent days, while former La Rochelle and Montpellier head coach Xavier Garbajosa is also thought to be in the running.

Warren Gatland hasn’t coached a European club side since 2005.

Gatland has no shortage of experience with working in the Northern Hemisphere, having coached Ireland, Wales and the British and Irish Lions at test level, as well as Connacht and Wasps at club level.

Quite a lot of time has passed since Gatland coached a Northern Hemisphere club however, as his last European club stint ended back in 2005 when he left his role with Wasps.

The New Zealander is currently working in his home country as the Chiefs’ director of rugby, having signed a four-year contract with them ahead of the 2020 Super Rugby season.

Gatland was the Chiefs’ head coach in 2020, before talking a sabbatical in 2021 in order to coach the Lions on their tour of South Africa, while Clayton McMillan took over at the Chiefs in his absence.

McMillan has been retained as the Chiefs’ head coach after much improved performances from the club in 2021, while Gatland will act as the Hamilton-based club’s director of rugby this year.

Lyon are performing well this season.

Whoever takes the reins at Lyon next season is set to inherit a successful team, as Lyon are currently flying high in the Top 14 and the EPCR Challenge Cup.

Lyon are currently in third place in the Top 14, having won nine of their 16 matches so far, while they have secured their place in the knock out stages of the Challenge Cup by winning all four of their pool matches.

The club are understood to have wanted Mignoni to have stayed on as Lyon’s head coach, but the former France international has decided to leave the club earlier than expected.

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