Your votes determined that the New Zealander has been the best coach in rugby union over the past 60 years


Warren Gatland voted the greatest ever rugby coach

This year marks the 60th anniversary of Rugby World magazine and we want to reflect on the key movers and shakers in the sport over the past six decades.

That includes determining the greatest ever rugby coach – and we asked you to help us do it.

We created a ‘bracket’ listing the best of the best. Those in the running had to have coached at men’s international 15s level since 1960. Most were head coaches but we included a few assistants because of their impact.

The votes of Rugby World readers on Twitter then decided the winners of 31 head-to-head polls – see below – with Warren Gatland beating Ian McGeechan in the final to be crowned the greatest ever rugby coach.

Who is the greatest ever rugby coach?

Gatland’s CV is hugely impressive. At Wasps, he won three successive English Premiership titles as well as the Heinken Cup and European Challenge Cup.

He won three Six Nations Grand Slams as Wales coach and guided the British & Irish Lions to a series win in Australia in 2013 – the tourists’ first triumph in 16 years – as well as a drawn series in New Zealand in 2017.


The New Zealander is currently preparing the Chiefs for the new Super Rugby Aotearoa competition and next year will take charge of the Lions for a third time as they travel to South Africa to face the world champions.

In an exclusive interview for Rugby World‘s 60th anniversary issue, which is on sale on Tuesday 9 June, Gatland looks ahead to the South Africa tour and says that England lock Maro Itoje is in the frame to captain the Lions.

“There are some pretty good second-rows around,” says Gatland. “You have Courtney Lawes and George Kruis. How’s Alun Wyn Jones going at that time? There’s James Ryan.

“There’s no doubt about Itoje’s quality. He’s an intelligent player and an intelligent man and has been incredibly successful in his career. He would definitely be in contention as one of the possibilities as captain.”

Read the full interview with Gatland, in which he talks about the challenges of touring South Africa, the lessons he’s learnt in his career and the importance of the Lions, in the July 2020 edition.

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