IRB to investigate Gatland admission
October 18, 2011
Wales boss Warren Gatland has sparked huge debate with his revelation © Getty Images
The International Rugby Board (IRB) is to launch an enquiry into Wales boss Warren Gatland's revelation that he and his coaching team considered asking one of their props to fake injury in Saturday's Rugby World Cup semi-final defeat by France.
Wales lost tight-head Adam Jones to a calf problem just nine minutes into the game in Auckland and then had captain and openside flanker Sam Warburton sent off just before the midway point of the first half.
With their pack having been reduced to seven players, Wales were forced to call upon the services of centre Jamie Roberts for scrums, thus destabilising their set-piece. Consequently, Gatland and his staff discussed the possibility of exploiting the rule that states that if a team does not have enough props at their disposal, scrums must go uncontested. However, the New Zealander decided that it would be morally wrong to instruct one of his remaining front-rows to feign injury.
In spite of this, the BBC claims that the IRB is "privately stunned" by Gatland's comments and intends to ask the Wales coach to explain himself. However, Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) chief executive Roger Lewis believes that Gatland should not be admonished for his honesty.
"Warren Gatland should be applauded in this professional era where tough things and tough decisions are made that he didn't go into that particular zone," he said. "That was something that was considered… and the guys said 'we are not going there'.
"In professional sport there is always an opportunity to manipulate the laws and that opportunity could have presented itself.
"But we did not go there and I think it is a tribute to Warren that he honestly expressed that. Warren Gatland is a brutally honest rugby coach. He is a very serious thinker and he tells it as he sees it.
"He said very honestly today: 'One could have considered the possibility of taking a prop off and going to uncontested scrums.'
"But Warren honestly said: 'Yes, we knew that was an option and it was an option we didn't consider because the semi-final of a World Cup is so important, we have got to play the game.'"
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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