Proud Gatland not ruling out third Lions tour after holding All Blacks


Warren Gatland saluted the British and Irish Lions' courage after they tied the series with New Zealand and did not rule out a third tour as head coach in South Africa.

Owen Farrell nailed a fourth penalty two minutes from the end of a tense third and final match at Eden Park on Saturday to salvage a 15-15 draw.

Elliot Daly was also on target from the tee with a huge strike early in the second half after Ngani Laumape and Jordie Barrett marked their first All Blacks starts with first-half tries.

The world champions looked set to have one last chance to snatch a 2-1 victory when referee Romain Poite awarded a penalty a minute from time, but the decision was downgraded as Ken Owens was deemed to be accidentally offside.

Gatland felt the tourists deserved to tie a pulsating series in his homeland and expressed his pride with the way his players stood up to challenge.

"You always want to roll the dice, it's all about winning. It's a great achievement coming here and drawing the series, we knew it was going to be tough from the start." he told Sky Sports 1.

"We didn't play that brilliantly tonight but the boys showed some real courage. I think it's a fair result in the end, we would have been pretty gutted [to lose], I'm really proud of the boys, no one gave us a hope in hell coming out here.

"The boys represented the four nations brilliantly and should be very proud of what they've achieved. The players will have learnt a huge amount from this experience, and to come here it's helped us by playing quality opposition and learning and stepping up to another level the following week."

Gatland will now resume his duties as Wales head coach, but hinted that he would consider taking charge of the Lions for a third consecutive tour.

"I'm undefeated as head coach I suppose." he added.

"I don't know, there's a lot of water under the bridge, the focus now is on Wales and start preparing for two years' time when there's a World Cup in Japan.

"I'm a great believer in what will be will be, I'm not looking too far ahead, we'll see what happens."