Thursday 08 September 9:09 a.m.
Warren Gatland will be in charge of the British and Irish Lions for next year's tour of New Zealand after being named as head coach.
Gatland, 52, will relinquish his duties with Wales for a year before resuming the job he has done since 2007.
New Zealander Gatland will lead the Lions for the second time in his career having masterminded the series win four years ago over Australia.
The Lions have won only one of their 11 series against the All Blacks, in 1971, and the 2017 tourists face a daunting task with a tough itinerary leading to the three-Test series against the world champions.
"It's probably the biggest job in world rugby against the best opposition in world rugby," Gatland said after being unveiled on Wednesday in Edinburgh.
The 10-fixture tour includes five games against Super Rugby opposition and a clash with the Maori, then a three-Test series against the All Blacks.
Gatland, who was also part of Sir Ian McGeechan's coaching team in South Africa seven years ago, is convinced the tourists can prevail against the odds.
"I know from having been in New Zealand recently how much excitement there is ahead of next year," Gatland said.
"For the All Blacks, a Lions series is the ultimate test, but I'm 100 per cent confident that we can go and win in New Zealand.
"The chance to work with the best players from the four Home Nations is a coach's dream and we have some outstanding talent to select from," Gatland said.
Gatland, who has won two Grand Slams with Wales, departs for New Zealand on Thursday to begin plotting the All Blacks' downfall and will be accompanied by tour manager John Spencer.
He confirmed an intention to name his coaching support staff and management team on December 7 for the tour.
"I haven't really had much time to think about that at the moment," he said.
"I think what we've learnt in the last couple of (Lions) tours I've been on is that you want some continuity.
"There is a limited amount of preparation time, so some continuity is important, and I think it is also important that you get some fresh faces and bring some fresh ideas as well.
"I fly out to New Zealand tomorrow to do a reccie in terms of looking at hotels and training venues. I will get a chance to see the All Blacks on Saturday in Hamilton against Argentina, and then next week in Christchurch against South Africa.
"I am incredibly excited. I wouldn't be here if I didn't think we had the ability to go to New Zealand and win."
THE LIONS IN NEW ZEALAND: FACTS AND FIGURES:
* The Lions first played New Zealand in 1904
* It was 1930 before the Lions recorded a victory over New Zealand
* The Lions' only Test series triumph against the All Blacks was in 1971, when they claimed the series 2-1 with one game drawn
* The Lions have suffered Test series whitewashes on five occasions in New Zealand, the last of those being 11 years ago
* The Lions conceded 107 points in the Test series in 2005, when England's World Cup-winning supremo Sir Clive Woodward was at the helm
* The Lions' last victory over the All Blacks came on the 1993 tour in Wellington
* The Lions' overall record against New Zealand shows six victories, three draws and 29 defeats
* The last player to score a try for the Lions against New Zealand was former England flanker Lewis Moody in 2005
* In a 10-game schedule for the New Zealand tour, the Lions will play at seven different venues - Whangarei, Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Rotorua, Hamilton and Wellington
* Auckland's Eden Park - venue for the 2011 Rugby World Cup final - will stage two of the three Lions Tests