Rugby Union


Warren Gatland explains the differences between the English, Irish and Welsh players

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Football News

Warren Gatland was head coach of the British and Irish Lions for two of their tours and assisted as a coach for a third.

He was part of the coaching set up in 2009, 2013 and 2017 - giving him the opportunity to work with players from Wales, England and Ireland.

The teams are currently competing in a very closely fought Six Nations, so with his knowledge and experience of working with players from all three nations he highlighted the differences between them. 

"The Irish players are the most vocal out of all the players. They ask the most questions, they challenge the most,” Gatland said in an interview with New Zealand-based The 1014 Rugby on YouTube.

“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.

“The English players can bring a self-belief and confidence because of where they have come from and history and tradition as well.”

The Irish and English players are believed by Gatland to have a slightly higher social status, historically, and the way Ireland socialises its rugby players is often through higher means of education.

British & Irish Lions Media & Training Session

Meanwhile, English players gain their status that breeds confidence through the rich history of rugby's traditions.

Contrastingly, Gatland has praised his Welsh side for their attitude. 

He added: “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.

Wales Captain's Run

“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.

So Gatland's comments provide a useful insight into the ideology of the home nations and the distinct differences between the players who represent them and their mentalities.

The 55-year-old is set to leave his current role with Wales after the World Cup and has been linked with replacing Eddie Jones as the England coach.

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