Gatland: I introduced the Bok blitz

Warren Gatland has made a spectacular claim about the blitz defence that former Springbok assistant coach Felix Jones is trying to implement with England.

Writing in his column for The Telegraph, Gatland said that he “introduced” the blitz defence blueprint that brought the Springboks back-to-back World Cup titles.

Gatland’s comments come as the Wales head coach prepares his side for their Six Nations second-round clash with England, who hired former Bok assistant Jones as a defence coach after the 2023 World Cup.

Having served under Jacques Nienaber, who overhauled the Springboks’ defence, Jones has taken that blueprint to use in his new role with England.

However, Gatland is confident about finding a way to poke holes in England’s armour as he said that he was the first to try and introduce the blitz.

“At its core, the blitz defence is about putting the attacking side under extreme pressure by stress-testing the ball carrier, shooting up and inwards as a defensive line,” Gatland wrote. “It is a high-risk strategy but one that can yield great rewards.

“Thankfully I am well versed in understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the system.

“I first experienced the blitz defence when I tried to bring in it when I was coaching Connacht in the late 1990s and then when I became head coach of Ireland. In those days there was not the same level of video analysis so you could really catch teams out with it.

“Nowadays every piece of play is coded and the analysis is microscopic but when I joined Wasps in 2002 I had a conversation with Shaun Edwards, who was our defence coach at the time, and said I wanted to introduce an aggressive blitz defence.

“We had our moments but ultimately it proved a great success for us at Wasps, where we won three Premiership titles, a Heineken Cup and the European Challenge Cup.”

Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

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