On this day in 2007: Warren Gatland appointed Wales boss

On this day in 2007: Warren Gatland appointed Wales boss

The New Zealander led Wales to Six Nations Grand Slam success the following year.

Warren Gatland was appointed Wales head coach on this day in 2007 as Welsh rugby looked to rebuild following their early World Cup exit.

A 38-34 defeat to Fiji 41 days earlier saw Wales knocked out at the group stage in France, with Gareth Jenkins sacked the following morning.

The Welsh Rugby Union launched a global search for his replacement and the process led them 12,000 miles away to a former hooker who had played 17 non-international matches for New Zealand but never won a Test cap.

Gatland had impressed during a three-year spell in charge of Ireland between 1998 and 2001, just missing out on the Six Nations title in his final year as England held a superior points difference.

He also led Wasps to three Premiership titles and the Heineken Cup between 2002 and 2005 before returning to his homeland to coach Waikato.

After signing an initial four-year contract with Wales, Gatland said: “I feel tremendous pride in coaching Wales and gratitude at the chance to work at the highest level.

“Wales is the sleeping giant of world rugby, I want to achieve potential.”

Gatland made an immediate impact as he led Wales to Grand Slam success in 2008, an achievement he would repeat in 2012 and 2019.

In doing so, Gatland became the first coach to win three Grand Slams in the Five or Six Nations era.

Gatland’s initial 12-year reign also saw Wales reach the semi-finals of the 2011 and 2019 Rugby World Cups.

He was reappointed to the role in December 2022 and Wales reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup the following year, where they lost 29-17 to Argentina.

Latest News