Gatland doubtful for Australia tour
April 13, 2012
Warren Gatland is struggling to be fit enough to take part in Wales' tour to Australia © Getty Images
Warren Gatland is facing the prospect of being unable to lead Wales on their summer tour of Australia, according to the New Zealander's wife.
The Wales coach will undergo reconstructive surgery on his right heel next week after falling from a ladder at their New Zealand beach house on Easter Monday.
Gatland, who suffered multiple fractures of his right heel and a single fracture of his left heel during the accident, was due to fly back to Wales late this week after a three-week holiday with family in Hamilton.
However, following surgery next Thursday, he will be in hospital for four or five days before returning to his home in Hamilton until he is mobile again.
Wales' assistant coaches, led by Robert Howley, are to prepare the Wales squad ahead of their trip to Australia, with the first of three Tests against the Wallabies on June 9. Gatland may still recover in time, although his wife has cast doubt on whether he will be available.
"We just don't know how long that [the period of time he is immobile] will be," Trudy Gatland told the Waikato Times. "He's hopeful it won't be too long that he's off his feet but he is going to be in two casts initially.
"His left foot hopefully will mend quite quickly, because it's just got one fracture on the heel, but the other one that needs the surgery has a lot more shattered pieces.
"The coaches are just going to step up and do the job of getting the boys prepared for Australia, and then Warren will see closer to the time whether he can get to Australia or not."
Trudy Gatland said he was lucky not to suffer more severe injuries after falling three metres on to concrete while cleaning windows.
"Warren was doing the windows for me, which was very kind," she said. "But it could have been much worse. Luckily he landed on his feet because he could have landed on his head. He landed falling backwards, so his heels took the impact and the calcaneus bone, that heel bone, is a really painful injury. He's being very brave but it is very painful."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"The most exciting games of recent years have been in European competition; let's not destroy it. " Tom May on the Heineken Cup and why it means so much to the players
After Sam Egerton became the first person to be red carded in the Varsity match, Scrum Sevens looks at other high-profile dismissals at Twickenham
Tom Hamilton pays a visit to Oxford University Women's Rugby Football Club who have recently made headlines across the world, from Tokyo to New York