Former Wales and Ireland boss Warren Gatland reveals he’s set to return to Europe once his contract in New Zealand expires in 12 months time.
Domestically, Gatland has also coached Connacht and Wasps – winning three English Premiership titles and a Heineken Cup during his time – before a stint with hometown side Waikato in New Zealand where he claimed the Air New Zealand Cup.
“I am contracted with the New Zealand Rugby Union for the next 12 months and I have enjoyed my role as director of rugby with the Chiefs, working closely with the coaches and coaching the coaches and a hands-on role working with the players,” revealed Gatland, who was speaking exclusively to The Telegraph.
“After that I am probably going to look for another role overseas. I loved my time as a young coach in Ireland [with Connacht and then as head coach of the national side] and my time with Wasps and, of course, Wales. It was pretty challenging but the people made it special for me in Wales. I could end up in the UK again.
“I loved my time in the northern hemisphere, the friends that I made and I enjoyed the rugby. I have nothing concrete yet and haven’t had any conversations yet.
“There is a lot more pressure in international rugby because you are under the spotlight but the flip side is that every game is like a cup final.
“In club rugby you have a bit more leeway to try different combinations as you can lose some games and still make the top four. You look at the pros and cons of both and see hopefully where you can make a difference.”
DID YOU KNOW? As a player, Gatland played as a hooker and was one of Waikato’s longest-serving players, having played 140 games for the province – a record at the time
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WARREN GATLAND’S DREAM TEAM:
- 15. Leigh Halfpenny (Wales)
- 14. Shane Williams (Wales)
- 11. Sitiveni Sivivatu (New Zealand)
Gatland on Sivivatu: “Probably the best player I’ve ever coached, [who] played for the All Blacks, Waikato and Clermont, was Sitiveni Sivivatu,”
Gatland on Halfpenny: “Probably pound-for-pound, Shane Williams. He had some incredible brilliant attacking attributes. But sometimes Shane could score three tries and let in two. But pound for pound he was unbelievable when he was at his best.”
- 13. Brian O’Driscoll (Ireland)
- 12. Jamie Roberts (Wales)
Gatland on O’Driscoll: “In his prime, he was absolutely outstanding in terms of his rugby knowledge and leadership. He was always able to make players around him look better than they were.”