Gatland has stepped down after a hugely successful era which brought three Six Nations Grand Slams and two World Cup semi-finals. And Gatland his confident his successor can take Welsh rugby forward.
“There’s an opportunity for the new group to come in and build on what we’ve created and to improve on it,” said Gatland.
“I know how tough it is to win Six Nations’ and you can’t be too greedy and expect to win the Six Nations every year. But it’s about going out and performing well in Six Nations and to hopefully get a few Six Nations titles along the way.
“Then we have to be as competitive as we possibly can be against the other top nations and we feel like we have done that. I really want Wales to continue to build on that.
“I just want to see these boys continue to be as successful as they possibly can.”
Wales finished fourth in the Rugby World Cup after slipping to defeat against an outstanding New Zealand outfit in the Bronze Final. Despite this being Gatland’s final game in charge of Wales he insists it was all about the players.
“Shaun Edwards spoke to the group and so did Robin McBryde,” he said.
“Alan Phillips had a few words as well. We spoke about the opportunity to go out and play a pretty good side.
“We spoke about how disappointed we were that we weren’t in the final. But to play the All Blacks, at least that was a game that you could look forward to.
“I think I’ve already gone through that process of knowing it was my last game and not trying to get too emotional about it. I came to the realisation a while ago.
“I’d prepared myself for it. They’re a great bunch of men to work with.
“I think everywhere that we’ve been – hotels or training venues – the feedback we’ve had has been incredibly positive in terms of the way they’ve conducted themselves.
“They’re incredibly polite and engaging with fans and public any time they’ve been asked for autographs. They’ve been exemplary in the way they’ve conducted themselves since we’ve been in Japan.
“They never complain about how hard they train and work. If you ask them to run through a brick wall, they’ll ask ‘what do you want me to do when I get to the other side?’”