June 10, 2020

Gatland named greatest coach ever in poll

Gallagher Chiefs Head Coach Warren Gatland has been named the greatest rugby coach ever by a poll of supporters in conjunction with the 60th anniversary issue of Rugby World magazine.

To be named rugby’s greatest coach (to have coached men’s international XVs level since 1960 was the criteria) is impressive recognition and Gatland received the accolade gratefully while also pointing out a poll in a month’s time could be very different: “I might not even make the quarter-final.”

To determine the winner Rugby World conducted 31 ‘brackets’ polls over Twitter, with a healthy dose of Lions nous in the final four of Jim Telfer, Ian McGeechan and Graham Henry.

Gatland of course has a long and storied history as a coach, from Connacht in 1996 to the Gallagher Chiefs in the present day – sandwiching a golden period with Wasps, multiple Grand Slams with Wales and back-to-back Lions Tours, winning in Australia in 2013 and drawing in New Zealand.

Ever-ready to provide in-depth insight, the 56-year-old spoke to Rugby World at length about forming his coaching principles in those earlier days with Connacht and subsequently Ireland: “I look back on Munster and I think a lot of the values I have now came from watching them. Munster didn’t always have the best players but they had great character.

“When their guys put that jersey on, it really meant something to them. It’s not always the most talented players you need, it’s the guys with the most heart. That’s been a big part of it for me.

“I’d rather pick a team of good blokes who would die for each other than superstars with egos who are just in it for themselves.”

Gatland named greatest coach ever in poll