The Chiefs have an internal match up at HQ today (Friday NZT) where they will go over a range of scenarios.
The new innovations include golden point and the ability to replace players following a red card. Existing laws at the breakdown will be applied more strictly to create faster attacking ball and a fairer contest.
Gatland said the golden point initiative will add a whole lot of excitement.
“I know rugby league has been doing it for a long time and there is nothing wrong with looking at other sports and seeing what’s working well for them. It’s been a huge success in rugby league and if it can be successful in this competition maybe they’ll embrace that and use it going forward. We can all benefit and learn from each other and these are positive initiatives.”
The Chiefs know all too well how the Blues will be feeling now, after announcing Dan Carter’s signing. Aaron Cruden’s announcement to play this season created a buzz for the Waikato club and Gatland’s delighted to see the reaction to Carter’s signing.
“I think it’s brilliant. It’s great for the game, great for media, the fans, and the sponsors. It’s just going to create some interest. We’ve seen with us with Aaron just that calm voice, experience and seeing things from a different perspective that sometimes young players don’t see.
“He will be good for the Blues in terms of not just the 10’s but also a lot of players. He’s got a world of experience, success wherever he’s been. It’s a good signing for the Blues and it’s good for New Zealand rugby to have that experience and calibre come in and contribute.”
The Chiefs have approached things a little differently to their return to training regime over the last couple of weeks and Gatland believes it’s a ploy that will work for them.
“We came back, and I thought it would take a little bit more time for us to adjust, having been away for so long. I know a lot of the other teams they tested on the first day they came back. We didn’t test until Thursday, so we were back in camp three or four days. We have been giving the players a day off during the week and I know other franchises haven’t been doing that.
“Our whole focus has been on quality and working really hard and the players have delivered, and I’m absolutely delighted with they way they have performed and the way they have trained. Mentally, they seem in a good place and there is a lot of competition within the squad.”
Having spent the last decade in the northern hemisphere with Wales and the British and Irish Lions, Gatland feels pretty fortunate to have been back in New Zealand throughout the Covid-19 lockdown.
“I know a number of people in the UK and friends who have had Covid-19 and they have been lucky enough to have recovered. And other countries have fared a lot worse, so I feel very lucky to be in New Zealand. Probably a benefit for me personally is that I had come straight from a World Cup and into a Chiefs environment and didn’t have an opportunity to get a break.
So, if I’m being perfectly honest and selfish, it was a chance to have a bit of family time that I hadn’t really expected.”
The Chiefs travel to Dunedin for the opening game of Investec Super Rugby Aotearoa against the Highlanders on Saturday 13 June.