Warren Gatland confirms he didn't apply for All Blacks job - 'I just think it would look poor'

Former Wales coach Warren Gatland has confirmed he has declined the chance to apply to be the next All Blacks coach.

Warren Gatland. Source: Associated Press

Gatland told the Telegraph he was one of the 26 coaches approached by New Zealand Rugby to apply for the role but turned it down due to the other roles he's already committed to.

"I was asked to apply for the position now and I've gone back to them to say I won't be putting my name forward, because at this point I've made a commitment to the Chiefs and I've made a commitment to the Lions," Gatland said.

"They appreciated it, they understood it."

Gatland is returning to New Zealand to take over the Chiefs next season before taking a year off to fulfil his other job in leading the British and Irish Lions for a third tour when they head to South Africa in 2021.

As such, Gatland thought accepting NZR's offer wouldn't serve a purpose.

"I just think it would look poor me applying [for the All Blacks job]. It wouldn't sit well with me, having already made those commitments to the other two parties."

However, he added that doesn't mean he wouldn't be interested in the job further down the track.

"The thing about the All Blacks is, going back to New Zealand, being involved in Super Rugby, seeing how the Lions go – in another couple of years with the Chiefs, if you're successful where you are, the opportunities come.

"I'm not saying 'how do I become the All Blacks coach?' That will happen if you do a good job and you're successful. That means that if I'm successful with the Chiefs, that opportunity might come along. Maybe it won't. It's not at the forefront of my thinking."

In the meantime, Gatland is looking forward to watching other candidates compete to be crowned Steve Hansen's successor.

"The next six weeks will be interesting. I'll kind of sit back and enjoy the process."