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Page last updated at 16:09 GMT, Thursday, 17 September 2009 17:09 UK

Gatland 'glad' not to be NZ coach


Lions tour boosts Wales - Gatland

Wales coach Warren Gatland hopes to one day coach his native New Zealand, but says he would not swap places with All Blacks boss Graham Henry at the moment.

The All Blacks have lost three of their five Tri-Nations games this year and go into Saturday's clash against Australia in Wellington under huge pressure.

Former Wales coach Henry has come in for flak throughout the competition.

Gatland told BBC Sport Wales: "[I'm] glad I'm not doing the job at the moment, that's for real."

Gatland is contracted to the Welsh Rugby Union until the end of the 2011 World Cup in his homeland while Henry's stewardship of the All Blacks is for a similar tenure, having surprisingly been retained in the role after their 2007 quarter-final exit.

But fears have been expressed in some Welsh quarters that Gatland could be tempted to take over the All Blacks in the event of Henry's reign coming to a premature end.

However, Gatland believes any such opportunity would only come his way if he first became a successful Super 14 coach.


He said: "It's about being at the right place at the right time and it's still about performing.

"It's all very well saying you want to be the All Blacks' coach.

"But as a coach you've got to go back to New Zealand, probably do Super 14, be successful at that level and then maybe get offered or get the opportunity to do the All Blacks.

"So there's a lot of stepping stones before that becomes an opportunity or reality."

Gatland is concentrating on adding a notable scalp to his CV that would thrill Wales fans and enhance his long-term career prospects - a first Welsh victory over New Zealand since 1953 when the sides meet at the Millennium Stadium on 7 November.

Wales then face Samoa and Argentina before taking on Australia, who Gatland's side beat in last season's corresponding fixture, the only northern hemisphere side to topple one of the southern hemisphere's 'big three'.

However, the iconic moment of Wales' 2008 autumn Tests came ahead of kick-off against the All Blacks when they dramatically out-stared the visitors after they performed their haka.

[For Wales] there's always been that thing about the All Blacks, the enigma of the All Blacks and the aura of the All Blacks

Warren Gatland

Gatland sent his side into action that day imploring them to believe they could end their long losing streak to New Zealand, but the All Blacks again emerged victorious, 22-9, despite trailing 9-6 at the break.

"The big thing for these [Wales] players is not so much physically, but mentally just having that belief and confidence that they are good enough on their day to beat some of the best teams in the world," Gatland said as he looked forward to the forthcoming contest.

"It's been since 1953 [not beating NZ] and to be honest that's the experience that I've felt within the team.

"I don't think the Welsh team and Welsh players have lacked that belief and confidence playing against the Australian side.

"We've also played South Africa on a regular basis and there's that belief that we're not too far away and capable of beating the Springboks on our day.

"But there's always been that thing about the All Blacks, the enigma of the All Blacks and the aura of the All Blacks and sometimes players have gone in there perhaps not believing that they are capable of winning even before the kick-off.

"And a couple of them have been on the end of some poor Welsh performances in the past and it's as much a mental state rather than a physical state.

"We're lucky enough to play [NZ] in the autumn and we've got two Tests against the All Blacks in June next year.

"Those are great games for us to build some confidence and it would be great to get a win after 50 years in one of those games and hopefully it's going to be this autumn."

*You can hear what else Warren Gatland has to say on Scrum V Radio on Thursday (BBC Radio Wales and online; 1900-2000 BST), with more to follow on Sunday in Scrum V (BBC TWO Wales and online; 1800-1850 BST, tv repeat at 2310).

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