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Wales boss Warren Gatland hits back after World Rugby rebuke

Published 24/09/2015

The Wales squad training at the Vale Resort in Glamorgan
The Wales squad training at the Vale Resort in Glamorgan

Wales insist they have not broken any rules after being hit with an official warning from World Rugby.

The game's governing body ticked off Wales for bringing extra players into Wednesday's training session in Surrey.

In a statement, World Rugby said: "The Wales team has been issued with an official warning following an apparent breach of the spirit of the Rugby World Cup 2015 terms of participation regarding team training arrangements.

"And specifically, the inclusion of a number of players from outside the selected 31-player (World Cup) squad for a training session yesterday.

"Having reviewed the matter, World Rugby is satisfied that no deliberate breach was intended.

"And in addition to the formal warning to the Welsh team, all participating teams have been informed that additional players from the extended national team squad, including potential injury replacements, may not participate in any training sessions."

Wales head coach Warren Gatland, though, led the Wales counter-attack when he spoke at London Irish's Hazelwood training ground in Sunbury on Thursday.

"We haven't broken any rules," Gatland said.

"Apparently from the statement from World Rugby, we have broken the spirit of the rules. What that means I don't know. Look, we didn't do anything that we thought was out of hand.

"We brought some players in for training for a little bit of defence work, so I don't know what we've done wrong.

"Apparently, it's breaching the spirit. But what does that mean?

"Either you've got rules or you haven't got rules. What's the spirit of the rules?"

Questioned on the World Rugby statement that teams are not allowed to bring players from their wider training group in for sessions, Gatland added: "It doesn't say that in the rules. It's either in the rules or not in the rules.

"We didn't try and do anything underhand. If we were going to try and break the rules, we would have been sneaking players in.

"But we had an open training session, which we had some players at. I think people were being misinformed that we had broken some rules and were being investigated. We hadn't broken any rules.

"We have apparently broken the spirit of the rules, but I don't know what that means. Go and ask World Rugby what rule we have broken."

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