RugbyU: Gatland The Master Of Mind Over Matter

RugbyU: Gatland the master of mind over matter

EDINBURGH, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News -7th Sept,2016) - Warren Gatland has a woeful record as Wales coach against southern Hemisphere sides but a series win for the British and Irish Lions over world champions New Zealand next year would consign that to a mere footnote.

The 52-year-old Kiwi, who has led Wales to three Six Nations titles since taking over in 2007, did guide the Lions to a series victory over Australia in 2013. However, the All Blacks are an entirely different challenge to an Australian side that was all over the place not helped by then coach Robbie Deans' inconsistent selections.

Gatland's task in becoming only the second Lions coach -- Carwyn James triumphing in 1971 -- to win a series in the land of the long white cloud has been termed by many as 'mission impossible'.

However, that sort of phrase is exactly the sort the pugnacious former top-class hooker relishes in dismantling. The Hamilton-born Gatland is a master of the understated wind-up, happy to play mind games with opponents if there should be the faintest chance of an advantage.

He would undopubtedly have been capped by the All Blacks himself but for the iconic Sean Fitzpatrick standing in his way and in an era when replacements weren't permitted.

He played 17 non-international matches for New Zealand, and racked up a record 140 appearances for Waikato before retiring in 1995.

Gatland was appointed as the 20th Welsh national coach in November 2007 and his start could not have been any better, leading Wales to the 2008 Six Nations championship title and the nation's 10th Grand Slam just four months later.

He first touched down in Europe as player/coach for Irish side Galwegians, opting to stay on after the 1989 New Zealand tour. In 1996, he took over at unfashionable Irish province Connacht and succeeded Brian Ashton as Ireland coach in 1998.

With a record of 18 wins, one draw and 19 losses, the Irish rugby union somewhat controversially decided not to renew Gatland's contract and gave the job to his assistant, Eddie O'Sullivan, in 2001. That decision still rankles with Gatland to this day and if there is a country he puts top of his list when it comes to winding up it is the boys in green.