Warren Gatland was announced as the 2021 British and Irish Lions coach on Wednesday, revealing one of rugby's worst kept secrets.
For his previous two stints as Lions boss Gatland took a sabbatical from his Wales duties but is now clear to dedicate himself entirely to the combined team and will take up his duties in August 2020.
Gatland will end his long tenure with Six Nations champions Wales after the Rugby World Cup in Japan later this year and starts his Lions role on August 1, 2020. He was reportedly on a shortlist to become the next France head coach and he has been repeatedly linked with the England job as and when Eddie Jones departs.
"I can promise you 100% I won't be coaching England", the 55-year-old former All Black said.
Eddie Jones is contracted to the RFU until 2021.
He told the BBC he has no interest in coaching England.
Gatland knows first-hand the challenge posed by the Springboks, having already been part of a touring party to South Africa in 2009 as McGeechan's forwards coach, but is confident of delivering success for the Lions in 2021.
Speaking to the Lions website, Gatland said he is "honoured" to take on the role once again. I will have done a full round of tours. The challenge for me as a head coach is to go undefeated in a test series.
"I've been extremely privileged to have the honour of being involved with the Lions, this will be my fourth tour, and I'm so thankful to have been given the opportunity".
Wales coach Gatland, who led the Lions to a series victory over Australia in 2013 and a drawn series against New Zealand in 2017, was widely expected to be given the role despite saying two years ago that it was time for someone else.
"I couldn't turn my back on this challenge", he said, having ended the New Zealand tour by saying "I'm done".
"I'm done", he said, apparently without room for manoeuvre, so upset was he by the "disgusting campaign" he felt had been waged against him by the New Zealand media. It's probably the hardest thing you'll ever do as a coach in terms of planning and preparation and the scrutiny of the press is always something that's at the forefront of a Lions tour.
Tens of thousands of fans are likely to travel to South Africa as Lions tours have developed into a huge pilgrimage over the last 20 years or so, red-clad fans usually outnumbering home fans.
Undoubtedly Gatland and the Lions were more pleased with the outcome but he has at least acknowledged demand could be there for extra time if the series in South Africa is square heading into the final test.
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