“They Ask The Most Questions“ – Warren Gatland Compares English, Irish & Welsh Players
“They challenge the most.”
Wales boss Warren Gatland knows his way around British and Irish rugby players, having coached the Lions on three separate tours (2009, 2013, 2017), with two of them coming as head coach.
But having spent so long coaching Welsh players, as well as taking English and Irish players under his wing for extended periods – what has he noticed about the players from each nation and what separates them?
The New Zealander sat down recently and offered an appraisal of the character traits of players from all three nations during an interview with New Zealand-based The 1014 Rugby on Youtube, and his comments are quite fascinating.
“The Irish players are the most vocal out of all the players. They ask the most questions, they challenge the most.” Gatland said
“People ask ‘why is that?’. Well, traditionally in Ireland a lot of the players have come through private schooling so they are pretty well educated and culturally, from that perspective, they are great to deal with.
“Their understanding of the game is excellent and they will challenge you,”
But what about the English players?
“The English players can bring a self-belief and confidence because of where they have come from and history and tradition as well.”
And finally the Welsh players who he would know better than anyone else having coached them for the last 12 years:
“The Welsh players are not anywhere near as vocal. They are ‘doers’.”
“You look at how that reflects on society. A lot of the Welsh contribute to the armed forces in the UK because they’re doers and they are good at taking instruction and following orders.”
“That’s what I say about the Welsh players, they will run through a brick wall if you ask them. They will work their butts off. They don’t mind working hard and they don’t question or challenge stuff.”