Gatland urges Kiwis to broaden their minds

Wales coach Warren Gatland has accused New Zealand of failing to do "enough homework" on their international opponents. [more]

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Wales coach Warren Gatland has accused New Zealand of failing to do "enough homework" on their international opponents.

The Kiwi, who took charge of Wales in December, has been impressed with the attitude of his new squad in the build up to important matches.

Prior to last weekend’s crushing 47-8 RBS 6 Nations victory over Italy in Cardiff, Gatland set his players a test on their knowledge of the Azzurri’s players.

And while the depth of knowledge of the Wales players came as a pleasant surprise to Gatland, the former Waikato, Ireland and Wasps coach admitted that it was a quality that was lacking in his countrymen.

"I asked my players to go through and analyse the strengths and weaknesses of the Italian side," Gatland told The Sunday News.

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"Pretty much everyone could go through their side and identify their players and know their strengths and weaknesses. I was really pleased because I didn’t think they could do it that well.

"I said to them this is a criticism I have of some of the All Blacks. I don’t think they do enough homework individually on opposition players.

"They wouldn’t know what club [the opponents] play for, has that club been successful? What level of competition are they in?

"I think at international level having all that information is important.

"I’ve seen it in the past and have also been involved in it. How many All Blacks would know the players in the Wales team if they were playing them tomorrow?"

Gatland believes that the Kiwis’ attitude typifies New Zealand’s standing on the global stage.

"As Kiwis we sometimes have such high opinions of ourselves and what a difference we make in the world, or what difference we make in world politics or sport and the reality is that we don’t," he continued.

"I think that’s because we’re so isolated. Yes, we’re successful but do we change anything, do we change the politics of other countries, does our economy influence the world economy? No, it doesn’t.

"For me, it’s about us being a bit more open-minded about the rest of the world. We’re not that important and there are a lot of other good things happening around the world.

"I get embarrassed about Kiwi arrogance at times and I think we need to be aware of things."

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