Rugby: Kiwi coaches compete for Six Nations bragging rights

Schmidt and Gatland.
Schmidt and Gatland. Photo credit: Getty

There'll be plenty at stake when two Kiwi coaches go head-to-head in Sunday's (NZ time) decisive Six Nations finale between Ireland and Wales.

A win for Warren Gatland's Wales would clinch his third Grand Slam, while Schmidt's title hopes with Ireland are dependent on England's result against Scotland.

But Six Nations title or not, bragging rights for Schmidt over supposed rival Gatland may well be result enough.

According to former Ireland international Luke Fitzgerald, Gatland is the only coach to really "get under the skin" of Schmidt.

The 34-test international told The Left Wing podcast that his former coach would relish the opportunity to one-up his compatriot and reserved a special target for any game against the Welsh.

"Wales is the one game Joe wants to win every year," said Fitzgerald.

"That Warren Gatland thing has been going on for a while. Whether he wants to prove himself against him - there's a battle within a battle."

Fitzgerald expects Schmidt will keep a keen eye on the media in the lead-up to the test for any morsels of motivation, which he believes will likely be Gatland simply laying bait.

"There'll be something to pick on and [Joe] will be obsessed with it.

"Joe watches and reads everything in the news - he doesn't miss one thing - and I think Gatland knows that and I think Warren plants in a few little ideas to drive him mad."

Sunday's match will also act as a tiebreaker between the two coaches - each has won two games against the other, with the other a draw.

"And it's great watching the battle of two mentalities<" said Fitzgerald. "The fact whoever wins this final Six Nations game will have a better head-to-head record won't be lost on Joe.

"They're both amazing coaches, but with different styles."

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