Gatland: Wales are Guinness Six Nations dark horses

Warren Gatland believes Wales can go under the radar to seal a first Guinness Six Nations title in six years.

Warren Gatland believes Wales can go under the radar to seal a first Guinness Six Nations title in six years.

Wales kick off the Championship with a trip to Paris under the Friday night lights off the back of nine consecutive victories – leaving Gatland feeling pleasantly confident ahead of their clash with France.

But for Gatland, who enters his final Guinness Six Nations as Wales coach, the inordinate focus on other title contenders could well work in Wales’ favour.

“The more the media talks about other teams, the better it is for us,” he said at the 2019 Guinness Six Nations Launch.

“Obviously there’s a lot of talk about Ireland being the potential World Cup favourites, so what is going to be challenging for them is managing the pressure.

“We can’t control what happens externally, but hopefully we can capitalise on being a bit further out of the radar.

“We are just trying to focus on ourselves and not worry about what the other teams are doing.

“We are focusing on taking it one game at a time at the moment and developing that self-confidence and belief that we have created over the past year.”

Since taking charge back in 2008, Gatland has led Wales to two Grand Slam victories in the Guinness Six Nations.

And whilst wary of the high level of competition, the 55-year-old believes victory in Paris could set his side on the path to glory in the final year of his tenure.

“I think if we can win that first game against France in Paris then we have a really good chance of winning the tournament,” he said.

“The first game against France will be incredibly challenging, but if we can get off to a good start and win our first two games away, we will be nicely positioned for the rest of the tournament.

“But the competition is tough this year and I think a lot of the other teams will be feeling exactly the same way.

“I remember back in the Five Nations where there was only talk of England or France winning it, but now we’re talking about five teams, and Italy are still good contenders. I think it is brilliant for the fans, sponsors and the sport.”