Do Not Sell My Personal Information
ADVERTISEMENT
RugbyDump RugbyDump
Wednesday Mar 20, 2019

Why Warren Gatland can now be regarded as one of the best coaches of his generation

Why Warren Gatland can now be regarded as one of the best coaches of his generation

Warren Gatland celebrated his final Six Nations match in charge of Wales with a third Grand Slam in 11 years and will go down as one of the country’ best coaches in history. With much speculation centred on what he may do after the World Cup in September, Gatland’s legacy has certainly been etched into world rugby folklore for years to come.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Hamilton-born player-turned-coach has been a prominent figure in the northern hemisphere since the mid-90s, and has since developed into one of the most successful coaches in the game today. Many regard Gatland as the best coach in the world today, with the Kiwi’s next move perhaps one of the most eagerly anticipated.

His stats clearly don’t lie: Gatland has achieved almost everything in the international and club game. He steered Ireland out of the depths of despair after taking over from future England coach Brian Ashton following the first round of the 1998 Five Nations, leading them to a best finish of second in the expanded Six Nations in 2001.

Gatland won nine games out of 11 but his side threw away a potential famous victory over New Zealand at Lansdowne Road after leading for large portions of the match.

Stung by Ireland, Gatland lands plum job at Wasps

Replaced by Eddie O’Sullivan at the end of the year, Gatland moved to Wasps, where he delivered three consecutive Premiership titles between 2002 and 2005, as well as two European triumphs – the European Challenge Trophy in 2003 and the Heineken Cup two years later.

ADVERTISEMENT

The most famous of those titles undoubtedly came in 2004 when future Wales assistant coach Rob Howley stole victory from Toulouse at Twickenham after capitalising on a cataclysmic error of judgment from full-back Clement Poitrenaud.

That success led to a return to the international scene at the end of 2007, taking over a similarly demoralised Wales – who had crashed out of the World Cup in the pool stages and dismissed coach Gareth Jenkins. What happened thereafter catapulted Gatland to Welsh stardom.

A Grand Slam on debut in 2008 was the last thing Wales expected given its troublesome two years since its last 6 Nations clean-sweep in ’05. A man in demand, Gatland became British and Irish Lions coach for the next three tours (to South Africa, Australia and New Zealand), quickly assuming a cut-throat selection policy and a stubbornness that proved effective, even if it was unpopular.

ADVERTISEMENT

But for all his qualities as a coach, Gatland has still been thought of by some as a “good coach, not a great coach”. Of his three Lions tours, he has only won one of them – albeit securing a series draw against the odds in New Zealand last year was largely seen as a successful tour – and he has never steered Wales to the long-sought-after victory over the All Blacks.

Often controversial, such as his decision to drop Brian O’Driscoll from the final Lions test against Australia in 2013, Gatland has never shied away from making tough calls and will no doubt go down as a coach of principle. Perhaps posterity will elevate Gatland to an all-time great of the sport.

His record with Wales? He’s coached 109 Tests, won 60 and lost 47 for a 55.05% win ratio.

The future

While Gatland will remain with Wales until the end of the World Cup, his direction after is still very much unknown. Rumours have him replacing Eddie Jones as England boss, while others are linking him with a return to New Zealand, potentially with Waikato/Chiefs in his native Hamilton.

Whatever happens, Gatland has certainly earned the respect, if not the admiration, of almost all his peers and his record for Wales leaves him as one of the best coaches in the northern hemisphere.

Related Articles

  • 17 WEEKS AGO

    Why the resumption of the Six Nations is...

  • 23 WEEKS AGO

    'LIVE' RUGBY: Watch back-to-back Calcutta...

  • 44 WEEKS AGO

    The French rugby team have selected an incredible...

ADVERTISEMENT

Great Tries

  • 2 DAYS AGO

    Exeter winger pulls off O'Driscoll-style volley in early try of the season contender

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    Stunning pass leads to steam-rolled fullback as Macilai shows his class

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    Legends react to stunning Jonny May try vs Ireland in Autumn Nations Cup

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Specman scores brilliant 60-metre try with cleaver half-volley and Superman dive

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    Hawkes Bay score Try of the season contender with incredible handling and speed

View All

Big Hits & Dirty Play

  • 1 DAY AGO

    Another foul play talking point as Bulls prop was sent off for debatable high shot in Currie Cup

  • 1 DAY AGO

    O'Driscoll outraged over All Blacks clear-out technique in Los Pumas game

  • 2 DAYS AGO

    The time Kyle Eastmond took out separate Quins players with two brutal red card hits in two minutes

  • 2 DAYS AGO

    Welsh fans question alleged headbutt from Ellis Genge in Saturday's Autumn Nations Cup clash

  • 3 DAYS AGO

    Wales fans livid over first half Biggar call in build-up to England try

View All

See It To Believe It

  • 3 DAYS AGO

    All Blacks honour the late Maradona with emotional shirt presentation

  • 5 DAYS AGO

    Ashton explains his 'too slow' comments about Lowe as winger's work rate comes into question

  • 5 DAYS AGO

    The remarkable similarities between Sumo wrestling and England's defence

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    'All he had to do was change his angle' - Campese says modern players lack flair and understanding

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    WATCH: Parisse and Nonu hold back teammate from referee confrontation

View All

Funnies

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    WATCH: American reacts to brilliant Nigel Owens refereeing montage

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    Video of John Kirwan apologising while wearing a Pumas jersey is proving popular

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    Simon Zebo reveals how 'absolute lunatic' Yoann Huget would wind up a scrum half

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    The day a 130kg Springboks prop casually slotted a conversion in front of Hurricanes fans

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Hilarious Nigel Owens rollercoaster reaction will have fans in stitches

View All

Amateur

  • 4 WEEKS AGO

    Viral video of Scottish club brawl goes down a storm with rugby community

  • 41 WEEKS AGO

    RUGBYDUMP BLITZ: This Best of the Week round up is sure to entertain you

  • 42 WEEKS AGO

    RD BLITZ - Disaster, just when it looked so promising...

  • 42 WEEKS AGO

    That glorious moment that will live on forever, like it or not

  • 42 WEEKS AGO

    RD Blitz - PROP'S Lionel Messi wizardy creates incredible try

View All

Player Features

  • 6 DAYS AGO

    New Zealand rugby pod admit Owen Farrell is world class

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    WATCH: Bath prop launches Amazon documentary focused on those from non-traditional backgrounds

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    The highs and lows of Yoann Huget after he announced his retirement

  • 4 WEEKS AGO

    Is Dupont now up there with De Klerk as the world's form number nine?

  • 6 WEEKS AGO

    Powerful South African winger set to become second Test player in family, but for another country

View All
Why Warren Gatland can now be regarded as one of the best coaches of his generation | RugbyDump - Rugby News & Videos