Gatland at 100: When Wales offered me the job my daughter said 'Dad, don't do it!'

As Warren Gatland was about to sign the contract to take over as Wales coach back in 2007, his phone rang. It was his daughter, Gabby, calling from New Zealand. The move would take him away from his family for much of the year.

"It was hard from a family perspective, being away," Gatland said. "I was sitting in London in a hotel with the contract in front of me and my heart was pounding. I was thinking 'Am I doing the right thing? I am not sure. Shall I just get up and walk out?'

"I have never told anyone this but my daughter Gabby rang me and said: 'Dad, don't do it'. Then she rang me back 20 minutes later and said: 'Aw, nah, if you want to do it I will support you'. I signed the contract and that was the start of it." Now, a little over 10 years on, and Gatland is preparing to coach his 100th Test in charge of Wales.

There are 'sliding doors' moments aplenty throughout his tenure. He points to the two stints as head coach of the British & Irish Lions -- both involved sabbaticals from Wales -- as one reason behind his longevity. They gave the team and himself time to re-focus, learn. The time away increased hunger for Welsh success.

Then there was the time he got offered the Chiefs job in 2011, an approach he turned down. The pain of his team's semifinal exit from that year's Rugby World Cup -- Sam Warburton's controversial red card marring a game he thought they could have won -- produced a desire to put that right and saw him reject Hamilton for Wales.

But there are highs aplenty: the two Grand Slams and a further Six Nations championship triumph high among them.

"When people look back over the 10 years they'll look back at what has been a golden period of Welsh rugby," Gatland said. "This is the fourth one they've had in their history. The first one was in the early 1900s, there was one in the '50s, then it was the '70s and now probably this one.

"We've got a generation now who expect Wales to be competitive, they expect Wales to compete against the best teams in the world. I can look back at the Six Nations I've been involved in and we've won about 70 percent of the games. If you compare that to the 10-year period before, it was about 40 percent.

"That's including Wales winning the Grand Slam in 2005. You change expectations and perceptions and possibly create a little bit of a rod for your own back. The thing with Wales sometimes is that there is no doubt with the Welsh, when there's agony they want the ecstasy and when you give them the ecstasy, they want the agony again! You almost feel that."

Specific match highlights include the win over England at the 2015 World Cup. "To hang in the game and win it I thought that showed real character. There was a display of emotion from me which I don't usually show." He name checks the win over England back in 2008 -- his first match in charge -- as another memory he holds close, one which took away fear factor.

"Twickenham is now a venue we're not afraid to go to and we've done reasonably well there," Gatland said. "There's no doubt that was the start of everything and to win that game first up and create that confidence and self-belief was important.

"The other thing is that we've had some real success against France. We've consistently beaten them on a regular basis and even when I was coach of Ireland we had pretty good success against them. That's always pleasing."

But as the world's most-capped Test coach, he has insight into the trials and tribulations of managing at the highest level that few others can offer. He holds a fear that the game is going down football's route with managers afforded less time than previously. Longevity is now a rarity and he points to the expected merry-go-round of coaches following the 2019 World Cup.

It is doubtful that anyone will match Gatland's 12-year tenure by the time he finishes up.

"There are a lot of teams at the moment looking for coaches for next year," he explained. "There are seven or eight club sides or international teams looking right now. I've got no doubt, maybe it won't be to the same extent, but that there could potentially be a merry-go-round of coaches in rugby as there is in football."

But he is far from done, with focus on Saturday's Test against Ireland bringing up his century. He is excited about the players coming through and at the form of the Scarlets. "We have confident players coming in and being confident in their own ability and I think from a regions point of view, we punch massively above our weight."

There are still memories to be made before he heads back to New Zealand after the next World Cup. But they are likely to be in the form of mental, rather than physical mementos.

"My wife has put my medals in a frame which is good and I've had that many blazers I didn't know what to do with them all! She has cut off all the pockets and put those in a frame too," he said..

"Apart from that I don't really keep memorabilia, I give it all away to my mates. I haven't really got anything in the past from my draws at home. I've got no stash of kit from the past either, just a couple of jerseys but that's pretty much it.

"The accolades and stuff are nice, but they're not something I try and worry too much about.

"The whole focus with this group of guys is the next year or so and then the World Cup which will be my last and the last for a few of the players. We want to finish off strongly at that World Cup."