Gatland keen on Super homecoming

LIAM NAPIER
Last updated 05:00 25/11/2012
Warren Gatland
Getty Images
WARREN GATLAND:The Wales has hinted the Chiefs head coaching role would be enough to lure him back to New Zealand.

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Wales coach Warren Gatland has hinted the Chiefs head coaching role would be enough to lure him home.

It has long been thought Gatland will return to New Zealand at some point but most believed the carrot would have to be a crack at coaching the All Blacks.

While he has no certain plans and the role at the Chiefs would have to be available, Gatland revealed this week in Cardiff he has a strong desire to coach in Super Rugby.

He has been away from home for five years coaching Wales but his heart clearly remains in the Waikato, the province where he played a record 140 games.  

"I'm not going to be here forever. When I do leave Welsh rugby I hope I leave it in a better state than when I arrived," the former Waikato and All Blacks hooker said.

"I'd like to go back to coach in New Zealand. It's not something I plan for. If the opportunity arises and it's the right opportunity I'll definitely look at it.

"At some stage being involved in Super Rugby would be a challenge. I've been lucky enough to have done Waikato in the NPC. That was great. I had some involvement as a technical and assistant coach with the Chiefs, but to be able to have a head role...it may happen sometime in the future."

Gatland is contracted to Wales until the next World Cup in 2015 but, by that time, he will have built an extensive coaching portfolio.

During his 54-test reign Gatland has secured two Six Nations titles with the Red Dragons. Last year he took a young Welsh side to their first World Cup semifinal appearance since 1987, and will lead the British and Irish Lions to Australia next year.     

Gatland is realistic about gaining a job in New Zealand. He knows it's hard to envision a change in coaching staff at the Chiefs after Dave Rennie, Tom Coventry and Wayne Smith led the franchise to their first title this year, but he was also keen to signal his interest should an opening arise.

"The thing about New Zealand is, compared to Europe, there's not a lot of jobs," Gatland said. "There's five Super Rugby teams and the All Blacks job. It depends on who is contracted and who is available.

"You've got to be at the right place and right time to get appointed and earn a job in New Zealand. I'm well aware of that. We'll see what happens.

"The next couple of years I'll start making some plans."

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