The Lions forward coach was unhappy at seeing his side leak three tries against the Royal XV in last weekend's opening game and knows that the next assignment will be far tougher and more physical.
And the key area for Gatland and his Lions to work on is the breakdown. There were 14 turn-overs in the first half against the Royals and that is a statistic that will haunt the tourists if they cannot improve in that area.
"In South Africa you have to do well at set piece time and our forwards have got to get onto the front foot. Nothing comes easy over here," said Gatland.
"Physically, the players in the northern hemisphere are as good as their counterparts in the south. It is just learning to play at the same intensity and tempo.
"It's all about the intensity in the collisions. You saw that from the way the Bulls won the Super 14 final last weekend - they were pretty special and would probably have beaten any team in the world, including most Test sides.
"It is a challenge for us to match them at the breakdown and to reach those same standards. You see players really accelerating into the breakdown and cleaning players out.
"That's the challenge for us - to learn to do that in three weeks. It is something we have to practice and be aware of.
"I spoke to the Chiefs coaches after the Super 14 final and they said they were simply blown away. Every collision has to be at 100 per cent because that is the only way we can get quality ball."