A statistical look back over Wales’ Warren Gatland era

Warren Gatland leads Wales into the World Cup semi-finals looking to sign off his memorable reign with the greatest highlight yet.

Sunday’s clash with South Africa will be Wales’ 150th 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

Wales' record in the Warren Gatland era
Wales have enjoyed great success under Warren Gatland (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 149 games since he took charge, a win rate of almost 58 per cent.

That climbs to over 70 per cent in the World Cup, where they have won 12 of 17 games going into Sunday’s semi-final, and 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

Warren Gatland with the Six Nations trophy
Warren Gatland is no stranger to the Six Nations trophy (David Davies/PA)

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

Alun Wyn Jones, left, with Warren Gatland at a press conference
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 114 out of 149 games, starting 105, to lead Jamie Roberts (94) and George North (90) in top spot.

  1. Alun Wyn Jones 114
  2. Jamie Roberts 94
  3. George North 90
  4. Leigh Halfpenny 84
  5. Jonathan Davies 79
  6. Dan Biggar 77
  7. Gethin Jenkins 76
  8. Sam Warburton 74
  9. Taulupe Faletau 72
  10. Ken Owens 71

Wing North is Wales’ leading try-scorer in Gatland’s time in charge with 39, while full-back Leigh Halfpenny’s 731 points is comfortably the leading tally in that time.

With 14 tries, 68 conversions and 175 penalties, Halfpenny has more points than any two other Wales players combined in the Gatland era, with second and third-placed Dan Biggar (381) and Stephen Jones (348) combining for 729.

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

  1. Leigh Halfpenny 731 (14 tries, 68 conversions, 175 penalties)
  2. Dan Biggar 381 (4 tries, 62 con, 72 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)

Nine 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 on 13 and Martyn Williams 12.

Josh Adams will be bidding to join them in Wales’ two remaining World Cup games – the prolific wing has nine in 19 caps to date.

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