Confusion surrounds Gatland's absence
November 8, 2013
Rob Howley (right) fielded media duties on Thursday instead of Warren Gatland © Getty Images
Warren Gatland snubbed Thursday's media opportunity with Rob Howley attending in his place.
Gatland was reportedly frustrated with the media and was absent at Thursday's press conference. Howley, when asked where Gatland was, said: "He's meeting some of our players, so he's unavailable."
Despite this assertion by Howley, both the Times and the Daily Mail claim Gatland's absence was due to a different reason. The Times claims: "Gatland's non-appearance, it transpired, was the result of his frustration with sections of the Welsh media. Even when absent, Gatland had managed to remain the centre of attention."
The Daily Mail adds: "Howley took on the media duties again yesterday in the continuing absence of head coach Warren Gatland, who seems to have taken exception to negative reports surrounding his selection, especially the choice of fit-again Rhys Priestland over Dan Biggar at fly half."
Regardless of the reasons behind Gatland's absence, one thing is certain, the Millennium Stadium roof will be shut this weekend. Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer suggested earlier this week he was keen for the roof to stay open so his team could experience the Welsh elements, but Howley has confirmed they have opted to close it.
"It's up to us to make the decision and we've elected to keep the roof closed. So, hopefully, it's going to be a nice dry park and we can play some rugby. South Africa can play rugby as well."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
As Ray McLoughlin prepares to celebrate his 75th birthday, Huw Richards pays tribute to the man and the selectors who had the wisdom to bring him into the Ireland fold
John Taylor argues the world's best XVs players must be given a chance to play in the Olympics to increase the appeal of the game
The All Blacks' form is not a peaking issue, but Hansen must threaten to wield his axe, to demand improvement, Craig Dowd writes
"It has been the World Cup that smashed down the gender barriers of the sport." Tom Hamilton looks back at a remarkable tournament