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A statistical look back as Warren Gatland’s Wales reign ends

The New Zealander’s tenure ended after 12 years, 151 Tests and four Six Nations titles.

Warren Gatland bowed out as Wales coach after their World Cup run (David Davies/PA)
Warren Gatland bowed out as Wales coach after their World Cup run (David Davies/PA)

By Tom White, PA Sport Data Journalist

Warren Gatland’s Wales reign finished with back-to-back World Cup defeats but he still leaves his role as coach with a superb record.

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The third-place play-off with New Zealand was Wales’ 151st game since Gatland took the reins in 2008 – though the New Zealander has not been in charge for all of them, leaving Rob Howley or Robin McBryde in caretaker charge for several spells mostly due to British and Irish Lions duty.

Here, the PA news agency takes a statistical look back over the Gatland era.

Win-loss record

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Wales’ record in the Warren Gatland era (PA graphic)

Gatland is by far Wales’ longest-serving coach – his 12 years in charge is twice as long as nearest challenger Clive Rowlands, while no previous coach oversaw more than Alan Davies’ 35 games.

That makes his sustained success all the more remarkable – Wales have won 85 of the 151 games since he took charge, a win rate of over 56 per cent.

That climbs to more than 60 per cent in the World Cup, with 12 wins from 17 games, and almost 71 per cent in the Six Nations with 42 wins from 60 games.

Wales have a 62 per cent win rate at home in that time, 48 wins from 78 games, and have almost broken even away from home – 27 wins, 28 losses and one draw, against Ireland in the 2016 Six Nations. That is one of two draws under Gatland, following Fiji’s tour match in Cardiff six years previously.

Honours

Gatland first took charge of Wales for the 2008 Six Nations, with the Dragons winning that title and three more since.

A 29-12 win over France capped a Grand Slam and a resoundingly successful start for Gatland – the first of his three slams as they repeated the feat in 2012 and 2019.

They also won the 2013 title, though that was with Howley in caretaker charge while Gatland focused on the Lions.

That move paid off as the home nations combined team won their series in Australia and Gatland was named coach of the year at the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year awards.

Players

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Alun Wyn Jones (left) has been alongside Gatland throughout (Aaron Chown/PA)

Current captain Alun Wyn Jones is Wales’ most-capped international and also the only player with over 100 caps in the Gatland era.

The Ospreys lock has played in 116 out of 151 games, starting 107, to lead Jamie Roberts (94) and George North (91) in top spot.

  1. Alun Wyn Jones 116
  2. Jamie Roberts 94
  3. George North 91
  4. Leigh Halfpenny 85
  5. Jonathan Davies 81
  6. Dan Biggar 79
  7. Gethin Jenkins 76
  8. Sam Warburton 74
  9. Ken Owens 73
  10. Taulupe Faletau & Justin Tipuric 72

Wing North is Wales’ leading try-scorer in Gatland’s time in charge with 39, while full-back Leigh Halfpenny’s 733 points is comfortably the leading tally in that time.

With 14 tries, 69 conversions and 175 penalties, Halfpenny is a long way clear of second-placed Dan Biggar (390) with Stephen Jones third on 348.

Fellow goal-kickers James Hook and Rhys Priestland are among the seven players to hit three figures, along with North and Shane Williams who managed the feat with tries alone.

  1. Leigh Halfpenny 733 (14 tries, 69 conversions, 175 penalties)
  2. Dan Biggar 390 (4 tries, 62 con, 75 pen, 7 drop goals)
  3. Stephen Jones 348 (1 try, 47 con, 80 pen, 3 DG)
  4. James Hook 214 (8 tries, 21 con, 42 pen, 2 DG)
  5. George North 195 (39 tries)
  6. Shane Williams 115 (23 tries)
  7. Rhys Priestland 103 (1 try, 28 con, 14 pen)

Ten players in all have double-figure try tallies since Gatland took charge, with 16 apiece for Alex Cuthbert and Jonathan Davies, 14 for Gareth Davies, Liam Williams and Halfpenny.

Jamie Roberts scored 13, Martyn Williams 12 and Josh Adams 11 after crossing seven times in this World Cup.

PA

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