Warren Gatland

Warren Gatland OBE
Full name Warren David Gatland
Date of birth (1963-09-17) 17 September 1963
Place of birth Hamilton, New Zealand
Height 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)
Weight 95 kg (209 lb)
School Hamilton Boys' High School
University Waikato University
Occupation(s) Rugby union coach
Rugby union career
Current status
Position(s) Head Coach
Current team Wales
Playing career
Position Hooker
New Zealand No. 892
Provincial/State sides
Years Club / team Caps (points)
1986–1994 Waikato 140
correct as of 9 November 2007.
Coaching career
Years Club / team
2013, 2017
Galwegians RFC
Thames Valley (Asst Coach)
London Wasps
Chiefs (Technical Advisor)
British and Irish Lions (Asst Coach)
British and Irish Lions (Head Coach)
correct as of 2 June 2013.

Warren David Gatland OBE (born 17 September 1963) is a New Zealand rugby union coach and former player. He is currently the head coach of the British and Irish Lions for their 2017 tour of New Zealand. He has been head coach of Wales since 2007, and is currently on a sabbatical from the role, leaving Rob Howley as head coach until after the Lions' tour.

He also led the Lions to a 2–1 series victory on their 2013 tour of Australia. He has previously coached Connacht, Ireland, London Wasps and Waikato. As a player he was one of Waikato's longest-serving players, having played 140 games for the province - a record at the time.

Playing career

Gatland was born in Hamilton, New Zealand and educated at Hamilton Boys' High School and Waikato University. He played 17 non-international matches for New Zealand, but never won an international cap. His first game as an All Black was in 1988, when he is said to have introduced a hybrid Australian Rules-Gaelic football game to the training sessions, which was well received by the other players.

Gatland became the record-holder of the most games for Waikato near the end of the 1994 season. He finished the season with 140 games in total and announced his retirement before the start of the 1995 season.

Coaching career

Gatland launched his coaching career as a player/coach for Taupiri in 1989, and following the 1989 New Zealand rugby union tour, he remained in Ireland to act as a player/coach for Galwegians RFC, leading the team to promotion into the All-Ireland League Division 2. After retiring from the club in 1994, he became assistant coach to Thames Valley in New Zealand. He coached the team to promotion from the third Division to the second in the National Provincial Championship. In 1996, he returned to Ireland and became the director of rugby at Connacht leading them to the quarter-finals of the 1997–98 European Challenge Cup after twice beating Northampton Saints in the pool stages.


On 24 February 1998, following the resignation of former England coach Brian Ashton after round one of the 1998 Five Nations Championship, Gatland was appointed coach of Ireland.[1] His first match in charge was against a rampant French side who had already scored over 70 points in the open two fixtures. However, Gatland led Ireland to a close 18–16 defeat at the Stade de France in Paris. Ireland finished in last place with zero points. Gatland quickly improved Ireland's performances. This included a 29–23 victory over the Welsh in the 1999 Five Nations Championship and a 32–24 win over Argentina. Ireland had a disappointing 1999 Rugby World Cup campaign and failed to make it to the quarter finals after losing narrowly to Argentina in a play-off game 28–24.

On 19 March 2000, Ireland beat France in Paris for the first time since 1972, when a hat-trick of tries from Brian O'Driscoll led them to a 25–27 win. Ireland also beat France at Lansdowne Road in the return fixture in the 2001 Six Nations Championship. In addition to Ireland's 27–25 win in 2000, Ireland also beat Italy in a six-try romp, 60–13 in Dublin. In 2001, Gatland's final year as coach, Ireland finished the championship level on points with winners England, but lost out on points difference. In the same year, Gatland's Irish team almost achieved a historic upset victory against the touring All Blacks, losing 29–40, in what was Gatland's final match in charge of Ireland. He was sacked and was replaced by his assistant coach Eddie O'Sullivan. Overall, Gatland had moved Ireland up two places to sixth in the IRB World Rankings, and had finished with a 47% win rate (won 18, drew 1, lost 19).

London Wasps

After losing his job with Ireland, he joined the coaching staff at London Wasps under Nigel Melville as the Director of Rugby. The team was bottom of the Premiership at this time, but Gatland helped steer them away from the relegation zone and develop one of the meanest defenses in Europe. He took over as Director of Rugby when Melville left for Gloucester at the end of the 2001–02 season. Under Gatland's guidance, London Wasps won multiple Premiership titles; in 2003, 2004 and 2005. This titles includes the Wasps beating Northampton Saints in the semi-final in 2003 and again in 2004, while they also had to beat Leicester Tigers in the final in 2005. In Europe, London Wasps won the 2002–03 European Challenge Cup, winning eight from eight matches, before beating Bath 48–30 away in the final. With their promotion up to the Heineken Cup for the 2003–04 season, London Wasps clinched the title, losing only to the Celtic Warriors on their way to a 27–20 victory over French giants Toulouse. At the end of the 2004/2005 season, Gatland returned to New Zealand, where he was installed as coach at Waikato.

Return to New Zealand (Waikato)

On his return to New Zealand to coach Waikato in the National Provincial Championship (NPC), he led the side to seventh in the Division 1 table. However, under the new competition format, the Air New Zealand Cup in 2006, Gatland took Waikato to the final of the 2006 Air New Zealand Cup, beating Wellington in the final 37–31, losing only one match in the run up to the knock out stages. However, in the 2007 Air New Zealand Cup, Gatland was only able to lead Waikato to the quarter-finals, losing to 38–35 to Hawke's Bay. In addition to his role as head coach of Waikato, during the off-season, he acted as technical advisor for the Chiefs Super 14 team in 2006.


On 9 November 2007, Gatland was named head coach of Wales, and took up his position on 1 December 2007.[2]

Gatland's first game as coach of Wales was in the opening week of the 2008 Six Nations Championship, which was a major upset as Wales beat England 26–19 after trailing 19–6 with nearly sixty minutes played. It was Wales' first win at Twickenham since 1988.[3][4] After victories over Scotland and Italy, Wales went on to defeat the Triple Crown holders Ireland at Croke Park 16–12, thus winning the Triple Crown themselves. This was the first time Wales has held this trophy since 2005. In the final round of fixtures, Wales beat France at the Millennium Stadium 29–12, to clinch their 10th Grand Slam, 100 years after they won their first. Despite being Six Nations Champions, Gatland led Wales to a 2–0 test series defeat to South Africa during the 2008 mid-year rugby union tests, losing 43–17 and 37–21. Wales then went on to lose to South Africa at home during the 2008 Autumn internationals. Their Autumn campaign saw Wales win two, lose two - the two wins being a 34–13 win over Canada and a 21–18 win over Australia. This was Wales' first win over the Wallabies since 2005. Wales were unable to retain their Six Nations title in 2009, finishing fourth with just three wins; England, Italy and Scotland. Due to his commitments to the British and Irish Lions, he was unable to coach Wales to their Summer tour of North America against Canada and the United States. However, he led the team in their 2009 Autumn internationals campaign, which consisted of wins against Samoa, and Argentina, but losses to New Zealand and Australia. Wales remained fourth in the 2010 Six Nations Championship, with victories over Italy and Scotland. Their Summer tour consisted of a 2–0 test series defeat to the All Blacks (42–9 and 29–10), and their 2010 Autumn Campaign saw Wales at best get a 16–16 draw with Fiji - losses to Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. For the third consecutive year, Wales finished fourth in the Six Nations table, but on top of their wins over Scotland and Italy, Gatland led Wales to their first victory over Ireland since 2008.

Gatland led Wales to fourth in the 2011 Rugby World Cup, winning three of their four Pool D matches; 17–10 win over Samoa, 81–7 win over Namibia and a record breaking 66–0 win over Fiji, their loss was a 17–16 defeat to the Springboks. Wales beat Ireland 22–10 in the quarter-final, but lost to France 9–8 in the semi-final. They lost the Bronze final to Australia 21–18 to finish fourth. This meant that Wales were ranked fourth in the world, their highest ever ranking again under Gatland, previously fourth in 2009.

In the 2012 Six Nations Championship, Gatland won a second Grand Slam in four years.[5] However, Gatland was unable to see Wales' great form in their Summer tour of Australia, as in April 2012 Gatland broke both his heels while on holiday in New Zealand, and needed reconstructive surgery on his right heel. Initial hopes were that he would recover in time to lead Wales for their three-test tour,[6] but on 19 April 2012 it was announced that he would not recover before the tour, and assistant coach Robert Howley took charge.[7] Due to his success with Wales, Gatland was named Head Coach for the 2013 British and Irish Lions tour to Australia. This meant that Gatland was unable to coach Wales in their 2012 Autumn Campaign, but was allowed to coach the side against Australia and New Zealand. With Wales suffering three defeats on their summer tour, and their winless Autumn Campaign, Wales dropped to tenth in the IRB World Rankings, their lowest ever ranking and a position they had not been in since 2007.

Gatland returned to his post with Wales ahead of the 2013 Autumn internationals, where Wales claimed their first Autumn international win since 2009, when they beat Argentina 40–6, a record winning margin, in their second test of their campaign. Despite there being mostly Welsh players on the British and Irish Lions tour earlier that year, Wales failed to defeat Australia at home, going down 30–26 in their final match of the series. Gatland led Wales to third in the 2014 Six Nations Championship, defeating Italy 23–15 in their opening match, before they were convincingly beaten by Ireland a week later 26–3. They returned to winning ways when they beat France 27–6, however they lost to England at Twickenham to end any hopes of retaining their Championship. In their match of the Championship, Wales defeated a 14-man Scotland side, 51–3, a record winning margin. Ahead of Wales' 2014 South African tour, Wales were without key players, like Richard Hibbard, captain Sam Warburton and fullback Leigh Halfpenny. Despite this, and despite Wales' defeat in the first test 38–16, Wales were within seconds of beating South Africa in the second test, having led 17–14 at half time, with those 17 points being scored in the opening 22 minutes to lead 17–0. By the 65th minute, Wales led 30–17, but a Willie le Roux try brought South Africa within 6 points of a draw. With 2 minutes left on the clock, Wales conceded a penalty try to lose the match 31–30.[8] Wales earned two victories during the 2014 autumn internationals, one of which came against the Springboks, 12–6. This was Wales' first victory over South Africa since 1999, and Wales' first victory over a Southern Hemisphere giant since 2008, ending a 22 match losing streak.

He was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2014 Birthday Honours for services to rugby.[9]

Wales were within a chance of claiming the 2015 Six Nations Championship title heading into the final week. Having beaten Scotland, France, Ireland before the closing week, Ireland, England and Wales were all even on 6 points, while France were also still in contention on 4 points. For Wales to claim the title, they needed to beat Italy by 26 points or more to get ahead of England and Ireland. They defeated Italy by 41 points, winning 61–20 scoring 8 tries. However, Ireland overtook Wales when they beat Scotland 40–10, which meant when England won 55–35, Ireland retained their 2014 title.[10] Gatland was heavily criticised ahead of the 2015 Rugby World Cup, having played some key players in Wales' final RWC warm-up, Wales lost Leigh Halfpenny and Rhys Webb to injury.[11][12] Despite many injuries before and during the World Cup, Gatland guided the team out of the "pool of death", with victories over Uruguay 54–9, England 28–25 and Fiji 23–13. They played South Africa in the quarter final, and with 5 minutes to go, Wales were leading 19–17, but a try to Springbok captain and scrum half Fourie du Preez, saw South Africa claim a 23–19 win.

During the 2016 Six Nations Championship, Gatland led Wales to second with 7 points, 3 points behind victors England. The Championship started with a 16–all draw against Ireland in Dublin, before Wales went on to secure a 27–23 victory over Scotland in Cardiff. They backed up the Scottish victory with a 19–10 win over the French, before going down to England 25–21. At one point in that match, Wales were down 19–0, but scored three tries in the second half to come with in 4 points of the victory. In the final match, Wales earned their biggest winning margin in a six nations match, winning by 53 points in a 67–14 victory over Italy. In June 2016, Gatland took Wales on a three-test series against the world champions New Zealand. The All Blacks were without many of their World Cup winning side, with Dan Carter, Richie McCaw, Keven Mealamu, Ma'a Nonu and Conrad Smith all retiring. The first test saw Wales put up a convincing display, leading the World Champions 18–15 at half time. However, Wales dropped off after the 60th minute, conceding three tries to lose the game 39–21. Wales then went down to Super Rugby side the Chiefs, 40–7 in a mid-week match. In the second test, the teams were level after 40 minutes 10–all, but 26 unanswered points in the second half, including 4 tries with in 15 minutes saw the All Blacks secure the series after winning 36–22. The final test saw New Zealand clinch the series 3–0, winning 46–6.

British and Irish Lions

For the 2009 tour of South Africa, Gatland was named as assistant coach, specializing as the Forwards coach under Ian McGeechan.[13][14]

In September 2012, he was appointed Lions Head Coach for the 2013 tour of Australia.[15][16] The Lions won the test series against Australia 2-1.[17] He was given a 10-month contract with the Lions, taking a sabbatical from coaching Wales, although he did coach Wales against Australia and New Zealand in the 2012 Autumn internationals. Gatland promised impartial selection and said he believed that Graham Henry in 2001 picked too many Welsh players who were insufficiently good for the tour. He named Rob Howley, Graham Rowntree, Andy Farrell and Neil Jenkins as his assistants for the tour.

During the tour, Gatland led the Lions to a 2–1 series victory over the Wallabies, the first series win since the 1997 tour of South Africa. Including the non-test matches, Gatland coached the Lions to win eight out of the ten matches played, the loses coming against Australia in the second test, and the Brumbies in a mid week match. In the first test, he named ten Welsh players in the match day-23, four Irish, eight English and one Scot. This team won the first test 23–21, following a missed penalty by Kurtley Beale post 80 minutes. His team in the second test, consisting of nine Welsh, six Irish, seven English and one Scot, lost the test in Melbourne 16–15. In the third test, Gatland was heavily criticized by the amount of Welsh players in the match day 23, at 11 players. He was criticized over the dropping of Brian O'Driscoll, not just out of the starting XV, but out of the whole match day squad. Despite this, the Lions won the final test 41–16, which was a record winning margin for the Lions against Australia.

Since the 2013 tour, Warren Gatland has been very vocal over his desire to lead the Lions in 2017 against his home nation New Zealand.[18]

In December 2013, Gatland was named UK coach of the year at the 2013 UK Coaching Awards.[19]

On 7 September 2016, Gatland was announced as Head Coach for the 2017 Lions Team.[20]

Coaching statistics


International matches as head coach

Record by country

Opponent Played Won Drew Lost Win ratio (%) For Against
 Argentina 310233.33% 79 86
 Australia 30030% 39 101
 Canada 10100% 27 27
 England 410325% 70 126
 France 420250% 74 68
 Georgia 1100100% 70 0
 Italy 3300100% 140 65
 Japan 1100100% 78 9
 New Zealand 10010% 29 40
 Romania 3300100% 134 52
 South Africa 40040% 44 125
 Samoa 1100100% 35 8
 Scotland 310233.33% 67 84
 United States 2200100% 136 11
 Wales 420250% 105 82
TOTAL 381811947.37%1127884



International matches as head coach

Note: World Rankings Column shows the World Ranking Wales was placed at on the following Monday after each of their matches

Record by country

Opponent Played Won Drew Lost Win ratio (%) For Against
 Argentina 3300100% 101 35
 Australia 910811.11% 157 213
Barbarians 10010.00% 28 31
 Canada 1100100% 34 13
 England 1260650.00% 238 261
 Fiji 431075.00% 122 42
 France 950455.56% 164 134
 Ireland 1261550.00% 207 238
 Italy 9900100% 322 120
 Namibia 1100100% 81 7
 New Zealand 1000100% 140 344
 Samoa 2200100% 34 23
 Scotland 8800100% 242 120
 South Africa 1110109.09% 213 302
 Tonga 1100100% 17 7
 Uruguay 1100100% 54 9
TOTAL 934724450.53%21331864


British and Irish Lions

Matches as head coach

Record by country

Note: Only international tests nations are listed below.

Opponent Played Won Drew Lost Win ratio (%) For Against
 Australia 320166.67%7953
TOTAL 320166.67%7953


Club honours

London Wasps


Outside rugby

In 2012 Gatland made a cameo appearance as himself in an episode of the UK TV comedy drama Stella.


  1. "Gatland takes over as Ireland coach". BBC Sport. 24 February 1998. Retrieved 5 May 2008.
  2. "Gatland unveiled as Wales coach". BBC Sport. 9 November 2007. Retrieved 27 May 2010.
  3. "Wales shock England". Ireleand: Six Nations Rugby. 2 February 2008. Retrieved 2 May 2013.
  4. Harlow, Phil (2 February 2008). "England 19–26 Wales". BBC Sort. Retrieved 27 May 2010.
  5. "Wales 16-9 France". London: Guardian. 17 March 2012. Archived from the original on 4 April 2012. Retrieved 4 April 2012.
  6. "Wales coach Warren Gatland suffers double heel injury". BBC Sport. UK: BBC. 11 April 2012. Retrieved 2 May 2013.
  7. Abbandonato, Paul (19 April 2012). "Warren Gatland devastated to be ruled out of Wales' Australia tour". Wales Online. Retrieved 2 May 2013.
  8. Late penalty-try leaves gutsy Wales broken
  9. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 60895. p. b12. 14 June 2014.
  10. Epic win not enough for England
  11. Leigh Halfpenny: Warren Gatland did not get it wrong, says Jones
  12. Leigh Halfpenny: Wales full-back ruled out of Rugby World Cup
  13. "Warren Gatland's five-month break could see him coach British & Irish Lions in 2013". Mail Online. London. 22 October 2010. Retrieved 14 October 2011.
  14. "Gatland accepts Lions appointment". BBC Sport. 22 October 2008. Retrieved 14 October 2011.
  15. "Lions 2013: Warren Gatland named coach for Australia series". BBC Sport. 4 September 2012. Retrieved 4 September 2012.
  16. "Warren Gatland ready for 'one hell of a challenge' as Lions head coach". Guardian. UK. 4 September 2012. Retrieved 6 September 2012.
  17. "Magnificent Lions achieve greatness as they win tour with record score". Daily Telegraph. 6 July 2013. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
  18. British and Irish Lions: Warren Gatland keen to lead side for 2017 tour of New Zealand
  19. "Warren Gatland is named 2013 UK coach of the year". BBC Sport. 4 December 2013. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
  20. "Warren Gatland confirmed as head coach of 2017 British & Irish Lions". Guardian. 7 September 2016. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  21. Sports Personality: Lions and Warren Gatland win BBC awards
Sporting positions
Preceded by
England Brian Ashton
Irish national rugby coach
Succeeded by
Republic of IrelandEddie O'Sullivan
Preceded by
Wales Gareth Jenkins
Welsh national rugby coach
2007 – present
Succeeded by
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