He may be a modest soft-spoken New Zealander, but he’s also arguably the world’s top rugby union coach.

Warren Gatland OBE touched down at the Blake Theatre last Thursday for two sell-out nights promoting his book, "In the Line of Fire: The Inside Story from the Lions Head Coach."

The evening, in association with Aitch and Aitch Bee and raising money for St Michael’s Hospice, was a rugby spectator’s dream as ’Gats’ gave an open and honest view of his career, a fascinating insight to the world of elite coaching and told the audience some highly amusing anecdotes from his time in charge of both Wales and the Lions.

His first foray into the world of rugby began, like a lot of other youngsters, when his dad took him to his local rugby club as a five-year-old. "The All Blacks to me then were the best team in the world and had a massive influence on me," he said and all he ever wanted to do was play for the team.

His first challenge was as an under 16 when he went for a trial but failed to be selected. That happened again when he trialled for the U18 squad but again failed. But he had his chance in 1988 and was selected, eventually becoming the record-holder of the most games at the end of the 1994 season finishing with 140 games in total.

In 1998, he was offered the chance to coach Ireland following the resignation of the coach after a disastrous start to the Five Nations Championship; "Now I’m 34 years of age and thinking I’m not ready for this and I would have been the ninth Irish coach in the 1990s".

Ireland had just lost a game and their next game was against France in Paris who had just beaten Wales at Wembley.

So he told the Irish players not to read the papers or watch the tv to stop any negativity and trained well, but they lost the game although they led 16-13 for 75 minutes but lost to a last-minute try.

Moving onto London Wasps and under his guidance, Wasps won three Premiership titles.

After a spell back home, he was named head coach of Wales, and took up his position in December 2007 and led Wales to their first win at Twickenham in the 2008 Six Nations Championships since 1988, winning the Triple Crown and clinching their 10th Grand Slam, 100 years after winning the first.

"What’s made it easier here is the people," he said, " just how hospitable and welcoming the Welsh have been."

He said they are incredibly knowledgeable about their rugby, incredibly passionate about their rugby and incredibly opinionated about their rugby; "And I love that!"

In 2011 he was pulled over in Cardiff by a policeman "lights flashing, everything".

The policeman asked him to get out the car, "Sorry officer what have I done wrong?", asked Gatland.

"I just wanted to say well done in the World Cup!" came the reply.