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Warren Gatland found Joe Schmidt particularly easy to wind up in the lead-up to games between Ireland and Wales, the New Zealander revealed.

The former Wales coach was speaking on Wednesday's Off The Ball and said he knew that what he said in the build-up to a game greatly affected his fellow New Zealander.

“Joe Schmidt seems to get more wound up the week Ireland are playing Wales. Because if I say anything it absolutely drives him crazy.

“It does bother Joe. He might deny that but people within the Irish camp are telling me, ‘Please don’t say anything this week because Joe will go mental about any comments that you make.’” Gatland said.

Although the Lions coach has a reputation for playing mind games in the build-up to matches, Gatland believes he has employed the tactic less often in recent times.

“If you ever look at it. I’ve definitely toned down. If you look at the World Cup, what comments did I make?

“Apart from the Six Nations one. I made one comment at the start that when I said if we win the first game we’ll win the Six Nations,” Gatland said.

The former Welsh boss explained that it was easy for his players to get riled up to play Ireland as they were often beaten by them at club level.

“What Ireland have done and the set-up they’ve got is fantastic. It’s probably one of the best in the world. It’s on-par with New Zealand.

“I think Leinster and their success and the Leinster schools rugby and the conveyor belt is absolutely fantastic. Looking after players, time off - it’s all geared towards the national team.

“Even though people may be disappointed with not getting past a quarter-final and that time will come.

"But what they’ve done at provincial level and the success they’ve had is fantastic. That creates that rivalry. Definitely from a Welsh perspective that’s motivated the players,” Gatland said.

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