All to play for as Gatland and Schmidt meet again

Sports | 15 Mar 2019

The tense relationship between Ireland coach Joe Schmidt and Wales counterpart Warren Gatland adds further spice to tomorrow's clash in Cardiff in what will be the last time both face each other in the Six Nations.

They may both be New Zealanders, who played alongside one another on one occasion, but while Gatland socializes with England's Eddie Jones, he and Schmidt are more likely to trade barbs than anecdotes. This all adds more fuel to the fire - in a match where the Irish could deny the Welsh the Grand Slam and keep alive hopes of the title - of what is seen to be more of a grudge match for the Irish than the games with England.

Gatland, too, is always fired up by confrontations with Ireland, largely due to the fact he remains bruised by the manner in which he was forced out of the national coaching job after a three-year tenure in 2001. Schmidt, meanwhile, has been irked by the Wales coach's remarks over Ireland's style.

Gatland's claim in 2015 that Ireland did not "play a lot of rugby" rankled Schmidt along with other assertions they "kicked the leather out of the ball".

Schmidt got the better of Gatland when their sides met in Dublin last season as Ireland went on win the Grand Slam and their third title in his reign.


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