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The 'little bit of concern' Gatland has with Six Nations Netflix series

By Liam Heagney
A Netflix crew films Warren Gatland (Photo by David Davies/PA Images via Getty Images)

New Wales boss Warren Gatland has revealed he isn’t 100 per cent supportive of Netflix filming its behind-the-scenes documentary on the 2023 Guinness Six Nations. The online streaming giant agreed on a deal with the tournament organisers earlier this month to embed crews with all six countries to film footage for a series that will be broadcast in 2024.

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However, despite that long interlude between the crews capturing pictures and its slated broadcast date, Gatland has admitted to being currently stuck in a dilemma about minding his Ps and Qs.

The New Zealander is a veteran of starring in behind-the-scenes rugby documentaries. He was head coach on the three most recent British and Irish Lions tours and an assistant for the 2009 trip to South Africa. He was also the Barbarians boss versus Wales in November 2019 when RugbyPass spent a week filming his Baa-Baas.

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However, whereas the Lions and the Barbarians had editorial control regarding the documentaries that were eventually broadcast on those occasions, Gatland is anxious that no such control has so far been agreed with Wales set to commence their latest Six Nations campaign at home to Ireland next Saturday, February 4.

For instance, Gatland has a history with the Irish as the IRFU sacked him in 2001 while the Anglo-Welsh rivalry always takes on a life of its own during the build-up to that particular match. With no editorial assurance, it means he is entering his second tenure as Wales coach wary that the cameras could misconstrue something that gets said in the dressing room about rival teams.

He explained that such barbs might not be true feelings but words get said to fire a team up emotionally before they play a match and he feared they could be misinterpreted if broadcast in the Netflix series. Asked for his thoughts on the streaming company being allowed in behind the scenes at Wales for the Six Nations and how comfortable he would be with the process, Gatland said: “That is a really good question.

“In the past experiences we have had with the crews involved, whether it is the Lions or it is Wales, it is your ability to create a relationship with the players and the coaching team that is seen as really important. It was almost like being an invisible part of it and then you find yourself just carrying on with your normal routine in terms of their involvement and the trust that you build up with them.

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“That is the challenge with the Nexflix thing, that at the moment my understanding is we don’t have editorial rights – that is a little bit of concern. You want to be sure you are able to protect yourself because I can tell you now in a rugby environment when you are creating emotion, the language or the phrases used aren’t always appropriate.

“Sometimes you say something that is a little bit out of kilter or you are trying to get the best out of players or they are trying to get the best out of each other. So when you talk about nations playing against each other, some of the things said in the changing room might not be something that is always believed but it is part of getting the best out of your performance and then afterwards you are all friendly and matey again.

“Yeah, there are a few things that we need to be conscious of and iron out. The last thing that we need is for it to be bland in the way that it comes across, but I’m also conscious that we need to be able to protect ourselves too so that’s pretty important.”

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