Wales head coach Warren Gatland scared of final-year failure with World Cup 12 months away
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 26/09/18 11:08pm
Warren Gatland admits he is scared stiff of failing in his final year as Wales head coach, with his 12-year reign coming to an end after the 2019 World Cup in Japan next autumn.
The 55-year-old New Zealander was appointed after the 2007 World Cup when Wales lost to Fiji and failed to make the quarter-finals.
Since then Wales have won three Six Nations titles and two Grand Slams, while also reaching the semi-finals of the 2011 World Cup - their best performance since the inaugural tournament in 1987 - and the quarter-finals four years later.
"I'm s******* myself about next year because I want it to be a good year," Gatland said at a media briefing.
"The last thing I want to do is have a poor Six Nations and a poor World Cup, because the amount of work we've put in over the past 12 years has been huge.
"So there's a certain amount of pressure with that. That's why I'll be really focused on doing the best job that I can."
Gatland, who was formerly in charge of Ireland, Wasps and Waikato, has been head coach of the British and Irish Lions twice during his spell in Wales.
Both tours proved successful with the Lions winning in Australia in 2013 and sharing the 2017 series with world champions New Zealand.
Gatland took lengthy sabbatical breaks before both tours, and he was criticised in Wales as many felt that his priority should have been with the national team throughout.
"I've loved my time here in Wales and it's time to move on," Gatland said.
"Having a year away refreshed me and has been good for me personally. If I'd continued to do the Wales role (without a change of environment), I don't think I'd have been here for that long.
"So it's been a really good focus for me over my last two years, with the Lions and building into my final year and Japan."