A HEREFORD coach helped his New Zealand based team to a famous victory against the British & Irish Lions.

Andy Watts, who was born in Hereford, works as head of performance analysis at the Highlanders, a franchise based in Dunedin in 2014.

Earlier this month he played a key part in helping them to a famous 23-22 win against the Lions in a warm-up game ahead of their New Zealand test series.

He said: "In the week building up to this game, we had a number of past players and coaches come in to our headquarters and talk to us about the history between Otago and the British and Irish Lions.

"For the Highlanders, this is the first time they have played the Lions, so to beat them and create history for the club is something I am very proud to be a part of.

"Performance analysis covers a number of areas within the team. Our main focus leading into this unique occasion was around clarity of our game plan. It is my role to make sure each squad member is provided with clear diagrams and video evidence of our game plan.

"I also make sure our players and coaches have access to self analyse the British and Irish Lions key threats and any opportunities that we have highlighted.

"Throughout the week, we showed videos which highlighted what type of pressure we wanted to put the Lions under which would create opportunities for us to attack from. We felt the pressure we created worked extremely well for us and caused the Lions a number of problems."

Watts studied at Aylestone High School and Hereford Sixth Form College, where his performance analysis studied began.

He then moved to Cardiff where he completed a Sport and Exercise Science degree before going on to work for Cardiff Blues, where he worked for seven seasons.

His wife was born in New Zealand, so the couple decided a job offer at Highlanders was a too good an opportunity to turn down and emigrated with their children Seren and Petra.

Watts previously helped Highlanders lift the Super Rugby Cup for the first time.

Now in his fourth season with the Highlanders Watts is enjoying life in the Southern Hemisphere.

He added: "The main differences I could see when I first arrived in New Zealand, was the skill level on show at every training session, it is a massive part of each session, which I feel shows when your watch New Zealand rugby, whether at club or international level.

"I haven't had to adapt to anything, but one difference would be the Máori culture. I have been fortunate enough witness a few very special Hakas for players milestones."

Watts also worked with the Japan national team during their European Tour in November last year, when they played against Wales in front of a sell-out crowd at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff.