Departing Welsh rugby coach Warren Gatland has suggested Ireland's egos got in their way when it came to executing their game plan over the last 12 months.

Ireland bowed out of the Rugby World Cup in the quarterfinals for the eighth time in nine campaigns earlier this year, and the one-time Irish coach shared his thoughts on their performance with Off the Ball.

"It was hard to play against (Ireland and their tactics), hard to stop," Gatland said. "They played very direct, a lot of stuff off nine. When we played Ireland the biggest thing we spoke about was keeping discipline, try not to give away penalties because they kick for the corner, they had the ability to keep the ball in your 22 for phase after phase, it was difficult to get off.

"That's hard to stop and sometimes what happened, and it could have been me or Eddie Jones, you could talk Ireland out of playing that way.

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Warren Gatland left his post as Wales coach after the Rugby World Cup. Photo / Getty Images
Warren Gatland left his post as Wales coach after the Rugby World Cup. Photo / Getty Images

"Egos would get the better of Ireland; they'd try and play a different way and be more expansive. They sometimes did (change) to their detriment. Look at England, (defence coach) John Mitchell came out and said before the first game of the Six Nations and said 'We can't let Ireland bore us to death'.

"I think Ireland tried a few things and realised 'we know what works for us'. But the thing with Ireland, when we had our success against Ireland, we went in thinking discipline was really important, stopping that go-forward from No 9, and then if you did that what do they have to go to?"

Gatland also suggested it was too easy to get under the skin of then-Irish coach Joe Schmidt, who stood down from the role after the World Cup.

Gatland told Off the Ball that Schmidt seemed to get more wound up ahead of a test against Gatland's Welsh squad, because anything Gatland said "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 you make'."