Warren Gatland has revealed the strangest request he has ever got from a player during his long coaching career. The 2021 British and Irish Lions coach is currently working at the Super Rugby Chiefs after twelve years at the helm in Wales.
In an extensive interview with Sky Sport NZ’s The Breakdown programme, Gatland was candid on a number of wide-ranging hot topics such as the Super Rugby stoppage due to the coronavirus pandemic, next year’s tour to South Africa, and how he especially enjoys getting a win over England’s Eddie Jones.
However, when asked what is the secret to his longevity as a coach who started out in the mid-1990s at Irish province Connacht before taking on the Ireland job in 1998, the New Zealander provided an answer that included a bizarre incident covering for Samson Lee, the prop he worked with in Wales.
“The secret of a coach is how long you can con people before they found out how crap you really are,” he said. “Doing things right off the field is more important.
“I’m a great believer in getting the balance right. Teams I’ve been involved with, we train pretty hard and you have got to enjoy each others’ company. You have a drink together, without being stupid and being responsible.
“It’s about having a laugh. Family becomes incredibly important with environments I’ve been involved with. Probably the strangest request I got was from Samson Lee, who comes from the travelling background.
“He came up to me and asked if it was okay to miss training on a Tuesday before a Test match because he had a planning meeting with the Llanelli council for a travelling site on some land he bought.
“It was really important to him and I just treated it as if he had got an injury. I knew in doing that, the next time I needed something from him, he’s going to do it.”
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