Warren Gatland: Wales’ greatest coach, a ‘scientist, crooner and rugby god’ – BBC Sport

Blink and you might miss it. Shows of emotion from Warren Gatland are a rarity.

His public persona mirrors the style of rugby which has made him one of the world’s most respected coaches: pragmatic, methodical, occasionally blunt.

But at the end of some matches, you might see Gatland on the pitch with his arms outstretched, searching for someone in the crowd.

He is looking for his wife, Trudi, and his children, Gabby and Bryn.

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“He does this thing out on the field when he can see us out in the crowd, he puts his arms out and it means ‘big much’ which means as much as you can love anyone,” Trudi says.

“He does have that persona and part of his job is to take it very seriously.

“But he’s quite a different character actually. He’s got a great sense of humour and he likes to have a laugh, especially with the children.

“He’s a bit quirky, he loves to sing. He doesn’t sing very well but he loves to sing. His go-to song, if he’s made to sing on the team bus or whatever, is ‘Durham Town’ by Roger Whittaker. But he won’t do karaoke!”

Trudi, Gabby and Bryn can expect a particularly big air hug in Tokyo on Friday when Wales face New Zealand in the World Cup bronze medal match.

Image copyright REX FEATURES
Image caption Wales coach Warren Gatland and New Zealand coach Steve Hansen will both end their tenures after Friday’s third place play-off
This will be Gatland’s final match in charge of Wales, bringing to a close the most successful coaching tenure in the country’s history, his 12 years yielding four Six Nations titles – including three Grand Slams – and a first stint as the world’s number one-ranked side.

Gatland has also led Wales to two World Cup semi-finals, though how dearly he wishes his last game could have been a final against England – even if Friday’s encounter pits him against his native New Zealand and gives him the opportunity to sign off with a first Welsh win over the All Blacks for 66 years.

With the pain of a 19-16 semi-final loss to South Africa still raw, Gatland is bound to be contending with a heady cocktail of emotions this week.

Beyond the steely veneer, even he will feel moved.

“The emotions will be there for his last game,” Trudi says.

“When you see him in the stands and the camera’s on him and he’s very much the same whether they’ve scored points or had a yellow card, it’s all going on inside. We usually have a joke with him about how he’s smiling on the inside.

“He’s really good at knowing when you can be emotional and when you need to be tough on people, rile them up or trust they know how to do the job.

“He’s usually pretty even – the players talk about the confidence he gives them – but there is a bit of emotion there.”

— Read more on www.bbc.co.uk/sport/amp/rugby-union/50245173


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