Some challenges awaiting Gatland
New Zealander Warren Gatland was appointed coach of the British and Irish Lions on Tuesday for their tour of Australia next year.
The role is the most prestigious in northern hemisphere rugby but comes with numerous challenges. Here are a number of issues the Wales coach needs to tackle if he is to claim a rare series win.
AN EQUAL SQUAD BALANCE FROM THE FOUR NATIONS
Gatland has had a hugely successful stint as Wales coach, claiming two Six Nations grand slams and a fourth place at last year's World Cup but picking the majority of his own players in his squad to tour Australia could lead to problems.
The 2005 tour of New Zealand suffered numerous issues and is frequently labelled as one of the worst of the modern era with the troubles starting as soon as coach Clive Woodward picked 20 Englishman, including some that had retired from international rugby, in his 44-man squad.
Woodward had stuck by many Englishmen who won the 2003 World Cup under his leadership but had performed disappointingly in the 2004 and 2005 Six Nations. Wales, in comparison, had only 10 representatives despite winning a grand slam that year.
Woodward picked eight Englishman in his starting line up for the first test, with five others on the bench as the All Blacks eased to a 21-3 win and a 3-0 series hammering.
PATCHING UP RELATIONS WITH IRISH PLAYERS.
Gatland's three-year spell in charge of Ireland came to an acrimonious end in 2001 when he was replaced by Eddie O'Sullivan and there has been a simmering unhappiness ever since.
As Wales coach, Gatland had questioned Ireland's mental strength in the build up to the final game of the 2009 Six Nations in Cardiff which Ireland won 17-15 to seal their first grand slam in 61 years.
Paul O'Connell criticised Gatland afterwards.
"You need a big ego to do that which he (Gatland) seems to have from his recent success as a coach. Perhaps he needs to get his feet back on the ground now," the Irish lock said.
"A lot of the stuff that came from Warren Gatland's side this week, you wouldn't see an Irish coach doing that, or an Irish person doing that."
O'Connell was captain for the Lions 2009 tour of South Africa and played all three tests in the 2005 series defeat in New Zealand and is a strong candidate for a third tour.
Despite the disappointing performances of the team since that grand slam win, the Irish, who provided the most players for the last tour, are expected to contribute big numbers again with Gatland perhaps needing to rebuild relations with a number of their experienced players.
FIXING TEAM DISCIPLINE ON THE FIELD.
Wales headed to Australia for three tests in June talking up their chances of a rare series win but the team's ill-discipline ultimately proved their undoing in a trio of narrow defeats.
Team discipline has also plagued the English in recent seasons with Martin Johnson's reign as manager famed for his angry reactions in the stand as his team continually gave away penalties.
New England coach Stuart Lancaster appears to have rectified the issues and the Scotland team demonstrated their ability to keep the penalty count low when they defended for long periods of their famous 9-6 win over the Wallabies in June.
With the test series with Australia expected to be close, penalty count needs to be low if the Lions are to be victorious.
...OFF THE FIELD.
England's disappointing World Cup display in New Zealand last year was remembered more for their players' actions off the field that on it.
Centres Mike Tindall and Manu Tuilagi were involved in incidents that grabbed newspaper headlines at home and, with the boom in social media, the every move of the Lions team during their recreation time as much as their on-field actions will be recorded.
Gatland is credited with improving the team discipline and unity amongst the Welsh side during his tenure and similar methods will be required to ensure the touring party are all happy and on side.
Gatland is expected to name a squad of between 35 and 40 players for the tour and while all will head to Australia hopeful of playing in the first test in Brisbane on June 22, it will quickly become apparent which ones will not make it.
The Lions 'midweek' team is often the key to a successful tour. In 2005, Woodward split his squad and gave little hope to those players featuring in the midweek matches of making the side for the tests, leading to grumbles and an unhappy party.
This was rectified in the tour of South Africa three years ago with a smaller squad and all the players believing they had a shot of featuring in the weekend test matches. Gatland will do well to continue that pattern to ensure a happy squad.
GETTING A WIN
After 50 minutes of the first test of the South Africa series in 2009, the Lions trailed 26-7 in Durban and many feared for the future of the touring team coming off the back of the 3-0 humbling by New Zealand.
But the Lions fought back and were agonisingly close to victory in the second test before a Morne Steyn penalty from his own half snatched a 28-25 victory and the series win.
The Lions won the third test 28-9 to boost morale but without a series victory since 1997, and some heavy defeats along the way, the touring side badly needs a strong display in Australia to justify their place in a crowded rugby calendar