Wales v Ireland - International Match
The New Zealander has had a glittering coaching career but it is easily forgotten that, in his playing days, Gatland was a formidable hooker for Waikato in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He played 17 non-international games for the All Blacks but never won a Test cap, as he was behind the immoveable object of captain Sean Fitzpatrick.

Following his retirement in 1994, he moved into coaching and took over Connacht for two years in 1996 before becoming Ireland coach.

He took Ireland to the 1999 Rugby World Cup, but they endured a disappointing campaign and failed to make the quarter-finals, losing to Argentina in a play-off game.

Gatland was sacked by Ireland in 2001 but soon found gainful employment with Wasps, where he inspired the club to the most successful period in their history. Wasps won the Premiership title in 2003, 2004 and 2005, and also lifted the European Cup in 2004.

In 2005, Gatland returned to his homeland, where he coached his old team Waikato, before taking over the reins with Wales in 2007. He led them to a Six Nations Grand Slam in his first season in charge in 2008 and repeated the feat in 2012.

Wales also impressed in the 2011 RWC, reaching the semi-finals before being edged out by France 9-8.

Gatland’s superb record with Wales resulted in him being appointed the British & Irish Lions assistant coach for the tour to South Africa in 2009, but the Lions lost the series 2-1.

He was then asked to be the Lions head coach in 2013 and he delivered a first series victory since 1997, as they triumphed 2-1 in Australia.

Warren Gatland

Referees need less to do The modern referees’ job has become a laughably difficult task. Rugby has essentially become a game of five separate functions with open play, the ruck,…

The Rugby World team take you behind the scenes of the 2017 British & Irish Lions tour in the August issue