Warren Gatland is hot property in Europe with France the latest Six Nations country to reportedly seek the Kiwi coach’s expertise after his 12-year tenure with Wales ends later this year.
French newspaper L’Equipe reports that French Rugby president Bernard Laporte has been given permission to appoint a non-Frenchman to coach Les Bleus after the World Cup to lift the team out of its slump.
Gatland is at the top of the list after guiding Wales to a Six Nations grand slam over the weekend with an impressive 25-7 win over Ireland. The win also lifter Wales to second in the World Rugby rankings behind the All Blacks.
L’Equipe reports preliminary discussions have already taken place between the two parties but Gatland’s high salary expectations could be an issue.
Gatland’s name has also been thrown in the hat to succeed Steve Hansen as the All Blacks coach, although he’s played down that opportunity.
“I want to be involved at some level in New Zealand rugby … ideally in Super Rugby to reintegrate back into New Zealand,” he told The 1014 Rugby Show in January.
“Then if you’re successful other opportunities might come up.
“I also understand that … there might not be any coaching jobs in New Zealand. So it might be coming back and just taking some time off before another job comes up somewhere else.”
Current France coach Jacques Brunel has struggled to get France going since taking over the job last year, sitting on a 31 per cent win rate from 16 Tests (five wins, 11 losses).
That includes losing all three Tests against the All Blacks in New Zealand last year as well as a stunning loss to Fiji in November. A more recent failure saw them blow a 16-point lead to Gatland and Wales last month in the Six Nations, where they finished fourth overall.