Lions coach Warren Gatland has said he is desperate to beat his home nation of New Zealand when he takes the British and Irish players on tour next winter.

Gatland, 53, will take charge of his third Lions squad when they travel to the Southern Hemisphere for ten matches in 2017.

The Wales head coach, who is taking a year-long break from his national team job in order to coach the Lions, said he knows how tough the trip is going to be, but he cannot wait.

Gatland told Talksport: 'I'm just really excited about it.


"I am a very proud Kiwi and I want them to win in other sports, but when I'm coaching a team against the All-Blacks I am desperate to beat them. It is going to be great and the atmosphere will be brilliant."

"It's going to be incredibly tough, it is the hardest country to go and tour.

"With the passion for the game over there, it is going to be an unbelievable experience for the players and the supporters travelling over there."

Gatland previously coached the Lions in their 2009 tour of then-world champions South Africa, before being chosen again to head up the 2013 series in Australia.

In 2009 the Lions lost the three-test series 2-1, but suffered only narrow defeats in the first two games before a thumping win in the final game.

Four years later, he led the Lions to an astonishing 2-1 victory over the Wallabies, their first tour victory since 1997.