TODAY |

Warren Gatland basking in Waikato sun after arriving at Chiefs camp - 'Been learning players' names'


He hasn't even been in the country for 72 hours but Warren Gatland is already getting stuck in to his new job as Chiefs coach in sunny Hamilton.

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The new Chiefs coach said he sees plenty of potential in the squad. Source: 1 NEWS

Gatland spoke to media for the first time since touching down in New Zealand on Tuesday morning with the former Wales coach going straight from the airport to training to meet staff and players already in pre-season.

Gatland said he isn't fatigued or burned out heading straight into a new campaign after ending his 12 years with Wales just last week.

"My whole focus this week has been learning players' names and the staff as well," Gatland said with a smile.

"I've been more aprehenisve about that than the training or coming into a new environment."

Gatland said his original plan was to take six months off after ending his time in Wales before turning his focus to the British and Irish Lions' 2021 tour of South Africa.

But that gap was filled with his new job at the Chiefs, which he'll leave in 2021 on a sabbatical granted by New Zealand Rugby before returning to the Waikato franchise for the 2022 and 2023 seasons.

Gatland says there's plenty of potential in the squad to really find their stride in those later years of his deal.

"The potential that this team has and looking at the depth and some young talent - there's a couple of holes in a couple of positions in terms of that but the overall squad is pretty exciting over the next three or four years."

"The coaches have done a good job in recruiting within the region and outside. It's pretty exciting."

The Chiefs will wrap up their preseason training with a game against the Blues before the play the Auckland side for real in the opening round of the Super Rugby competition on January 31 next year.