News Update


Wales coach Warren Gatland opens up about his nerves ahead of the Rugby World Cup 2023 opener against Fiji.

Despite the fact that he is preparing for his sixth World Cup, Wales head coach Warren Gatland is nonetheless nervous ahead of their opening match against Fiji in Bordeaux.

This will be his fourth international campaign with Wales, following his tenure as Ireland coach in 1999, although he is not immune to pre-tournament nerves.

“I still get nervous myself, but I think nerves are always a positive,” Gatland added.

“The hardest thing as a coach is feeling helpless, so there will be some nerves before and probably during the game.”

“I discussed with the coaches this week the importance of not talking too much, not over-coaching, and allowing the players to take responsibility today and tomorrow.”

“I was delighted to see them do so. They appear to be extremely clear in their own minds about what they want to do on Sunday.

“When you’re nervous about the game or what might happen, it focuses your mind on what’s coming.”

“Nothing is wrong with that. I see it as a plus because the players are right on the edge of their preparation immediately before the game.”

Gatland is pleased that the campaign’s build-up has been less contentious than in recent years.

Whether it was the last World Cup in Japan in 2019, when attack coach Rob Howley was fired only days before the tournament opener against Georgia due to betting violations.

Or the upheaval during the 2023 Six Nations, when players threatened to strike and boycott the England game before the crisis was averted.

There have been no similar problems in France this time. It’s been a low-key build-up, with four months of hard work culminating in the game in Bordeaux on Sunday.

“It’s been fantastic,” Gatland added. “I’m happy just to have that whole World Cup preparation.”


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