Warren Gatland's fears over Netflix's behind-the-scenes Six Nations documentary


Warren Gatland has warned Netflix producers to expect foul language in emotional situations during the Six Nations and is worried that players and coaches will suffer reputational damage if they are not protected in the editorial process.

The returning head coach of Wales, poised for his first Six Nations since 2019 after replacing Wayne Pivac, stressed that a “bland” documentary would be unhelpful for a sport that is eager to engage new fans.

However, having previously welcomed cameras behind the scenes on British and Irish Lions tours, Gatland stressed that trust was vital.

“I think the past experience with the crews we’ve had involved, whether it has been with the Lions or Wales, is that it is their ability to create a relationship with the players and the coaching team that is seen as being very important,” he said.

“It is almost like [them] being invisible, so you find yourself just carrying on with your normal routine in terms of their involvement and the trust you build up with them.

'Phrases used aren't always appropriate'

“The challenge with the Netflix team is that my understanding at the moment is that we don’t have any editorial rights and that is maybe a little bit of a concern.

“You want to make sure that you’re able to protect yourself because I can tell you now that in a rugby environment when you are talking about creating emotion the language and the phrases used aren’t always appropriate.”

Earlier this month, Netflix announced that they would be deploying the producers of Drive to Survive for this Six Nations to deliver “an insight into pulsating behind-the-scenes moments”. This has sparked intrigue and excitement within rugby union given how Formula 1 has been boosted by the series. Gatland, though, explained that team talks would have to be treated with care.

“Sometimes you say something that is a little bit out of kilter when you are trying to get the best out of players or they are trying to get the best out of each other,” Gatland added.

“When you are talking about nations playing each other, some of the things that are said in the changing room might not be something that is always believed [by the person saying it], but it is about getting the best out of the performance. There’s a few things we need to be conscious of and iron out.

“The last thing that we need is to be bland in the way it comes across but I’m also conscious that we need to protect ourselves too. That is pretty important.”