How Warren Gatland, Wales, Saracens and Halifax RLFC have helped Joey Barton and Fleetwood Town

Wales head coach Warren Gatland
Wales head coach Warren Gatland

Fleetwood Town boss Joey Barton has been learning from rugby in helping him to drive the club forward.

Barton has spent some time with Wales rugby union coach Warren Gatland and his backroom staff, as well as Gallagher Premiership side Saracens.

Since Gatland took charge of Wales in 2007, they have won three Six Nations titles, reached the semi-final of the 2011 World Cup and are currently on an 11-match unbeaten run.

Saracens, for their part, have visited Poolfoot Farm having previously welcomed Barton and Town coach, Clint Hill, in April last year – and have also met with Burnley boss Sean Dyche.

Speaking about the Dyche-Saracens meeting, Barton said: “Sarries wanted to go in and see Burnley, so I was just able to facilitate that with them having been here (to Poolfoot Farm) and me and Clint were down at Saracens last year.

“I spent time with Warren Gatland and Shaun Edwards (defence coach) at Wales and just picked up some really interesting things.

“When you see Wales go on the unbeaten run they are on now, you have got bit of background to it because you have spent time in their environment and you realise good teams do not just happen by chance.

“They do not just fluke upon a good team; there is lots of planning that goes into that, lots of strategic work and a good team comes out of it.

“Usually, when you see a good team, all the hard work goes unnoticed.”

Saracens are not the only rugby club to visit Poolfoot Farm as Halifax RLFC head coach Richard Marshall was there on Wednesday to swap coaching notes and sit in on Barton’s video session.

The Town boss believes that an exchange of ideas and views across sports aids coaching improvement.

He said: “I like cross-pollination of ideas.

“I think when it is football to football, everybody is quite guarded with their information.

“We all chat and we chat quite loosely but also everyone is competing against one another in one guise or another.

“When you change sport and you have a rugby union or league or whatever, you are allowed to cross-pollinate ideas because you are not going to be using them against each other in a year, six weeks or whenever.

“I really enjoy those chats, I always feel there is a two-way street of learning.

“I am always striving to find a better way of being smarter, knowing a little bit more to help me progress as a coach, us as a coaching group and us as a culture.”