British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland has had his say on the major differences between Irish, English and Welsh rugby players.
Gatland has plenty of experience with players from the three countries, having managed teams in all three countries, as well as having taken charge of two Lions tours (and hopefully a third this summer).
The New Zealander had an interesting insight on the main traits of each nationality, describing the Irish as the most vocal, the English as the most confident and the Welsh as the most hard-working.
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“The Irish players are the most vocal out of all the players. They ask the most questions, they challenge the most.
“People ask ‘why is that?’. Well, traditionally in Ireland a lot of the players have come through private schooling so they are pretty well educated and culturally, from that perspective, they are great to deal with.
“Their understanding of the game is excellent and they will challenge you, as I say. The Welsh players are not anywhere near as vocal. They are ‘doers’.
“You look at how that reflects on society. A lot of the Welsh contribute to the armed forces in the UK because they’re doers and they are good at taking instruction and following orders.
“That’s what I say about the Welsh players, they will run through a brick wall if you ask them. They will work their butts off. They don’t mind working hard and they don’t question or challenge stuff.”
“The English players can bring a self-belief and confidence because of where they have come from and history and tradition as well. Culturally there are those differences,” Gatland told The 1014 Rugby.
Differences between the northern and southern hemisphere
Gatland also explained how the same mentality cannot be used in the northern and southern hemisphere, saying that understanding a country’s culture has to be taken into account.
“A lot of southern hemisphere coaches who come up to the northern hemisphere often ring me up for advice and I say to them you can’t bring a southern hemisphere model and just transfer that to the northern hemisphere. It won’t work.
“You can bring elements to it but you have to understand things like the length of the season, the different players you’re dealing with, the history and culture. If you do your homework, you have a much better chance of being successful,” Gatland explained.