Lions tour: Sir Graham Henry backs Warren Gatland as future All Blacks coach
Sir Graham Henry has backed Warren Gatland as a future All Blacks coach.
Henry hailed the impact Gatland has had with the Lions after they won the second test 24-21 in Wellington to level the series at 1-1.
Ahead of Saturday's decider at Eden Park, the former All Blacks coach said winning a series in New Zealand would be "astronomical" given the Lions have only been together as a squad for approximately six weeks.
Henry is the only coach to have led the All Blacks and the Lions, and he's tipped Gatland to become the second.
"Warren's done a great job in getting them all together and he's possibly a future All Blacks coach," Henry told the BBC.
"He's one of the most experienced coaches in the world, he's had a long run with Wales and won a couple of Six Nations."
Gatland first coached the Lions in Australia in 2013 after being an assistant in South Africa four years earlier.
The 2-1 series victory over the Wallabies was the Lions' first since 1997.
Henry added: "He's been with the Lions for some time and done exceptionally well. The All Blacks are currently the world champions and ranked number one in the world.
"So to beat the All Blacks at home with a side which has had very little rugby together would be an astronomical achievement."
Henry, who wants the Lions brand to keep "moving on", also raised the prospect of Lions tests being hosted in Britain and Ireland amid fears for future tours during their time in New Zealand.
The Lions' last test on home soil was against Argentina in Cardiff in 2005 before they toured New Zealand and faced Henry's All Blacks.
An agreement has been made in principle to shorten the next Lions tour, in South Africa in 2021, to eight games after playing 10 in New Zealand, but Lions officials fear that a shortened schedule would make the concept untenable.
"I wonder about having Lions tests at home back in the British Isles. I wonder if that would be a possibility going forward," he added.
"Ask the players and fans - that's what the game is about. I'm sure they would all be very positive about the Lions brand continuing and maybe expanding in the future.
"You've got to have priorities and, if the Lions is the priority, that's the way it has to be."