Warren Gatland has to go down as Wales' best coach - Gareth Anscombe

Gareth Anscombe

Gareth Anscombe

Gatland has won three Six Nations titles, two Grand Slams and reached the semi-finals of the 2011 World Cup since taking charge in 2007.

But Wales will clearly draw enormous confidence from their run of form since, not least the manner in which they have eked out wins in this tournament to date, and they will face Ireland on home soil as they attempt to make even more history on Saturday.

"There was so much good in it".

"He has changed the perception of the Welsh public from being underdogs, which they were used to in the 1990s and 2000s", said Warburton.

"He might enjoy a bit of time off initially, but I think his coaching journey will definitely continue".

It was Wales' first away defeat in the Six Nations since 2011 and the first time in five years that Ireland began the championship with back-to-back victories. And, with Wales on a record run of 13 successive wins under Warren Gatland, Schmidt insists Ireland will have to maintain focus throughout next Saturday's contest to deny the home side.

But Schmidt insists they need to crank it up again if they are going to secure their first Championship win in Cardiff in six years.

'It will be a hugely exciting and challenging game and both teams know the rewards at the end if they get it right. You do not want to be the underdog. They will need to beat Wales in the final round and hope for Scotland to beat England if they are to clinch the title for the second time in a row.

"The academy system is truly working in Wales now, and we are finding out who the top guys are from the age of 16 to 19, and we are holding on to them and not letting them fall through the fishnet", said Warburton, who retired from professional rugby past year at the age of 29.

Warburton, who was appointed Wales captain and twice British and Irish Lions skipper by Gatland, believes his former national team boss will not sit back when his tenure comes to an end.

"He has got to go down as Wales' best coach", said Anscombe, whose parents will travel from New Zealand to watch Saturday's Cardiff encounter.

'Warren has an exceptional ability to get the boys up for what we are doing.

"We have to extend that high performance period right through the game".

Both Schmidt and Best will be involved in their last Six Nations Championship matches. 'I've spoken to the Welsh players about him, to be honest. I am sure he will know the buttons to push this week.

"We have to give it a couple of more days before we know where we are at", the head coach admitted. But, our expectation is that he will be training fully on Tuesday and, if he is, he is another guy who will be back in the mix for this weekend'.

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