26 Jun 2010

Gatland says Wales want to earn respect of New Zealanders

7:00 am on 26 June 2010

The Wales rugby coach Warren Gatland has demanded his team earn the respect of rugby-obsessed New Zealand in tonight's second Test in his home town Hamilton.

Gatland insists their 2008 Six Nations Grand Slam "counts for nothing" with the All Blacks and World Cup hosts.

He says unless you can come to New Zealand and perform and at least push a team right to the limits, you don't leave this country with the respect of the people.

Gatland says that is important, they want to leave with their heads held high.

Gatland, who played more than 140 games for the Waikato provincial side based at the Waikato Stadium as a hooker, is a graduate of Hamilton Boys' High School and he took his Welsh team to train at his old school on Tuesday.

Gatland says probably why the Welsh are so respected individually in New Zealand as players is not what the Welsh team has achieved in the northern hemisphere in the 1970s but what the 1971 Lions did in New Zealand.

He returns to his old stomping ground bidding for revenge and respect after a 42-9 defeat in last Saturday's first Test in Dunedin.