Belfast Telegraph

Monday 28 July 2014

IRB to probe Gatland’s fake injury claims

The World Cup has waited the best part of seven weeks for the delivery of a “Gatland Grenade” and yesterday it finally arrived.

Wales coach Warren Gatland is still hurting over the dismissal of his captain Sam Warburton in the early stages of last weekend's semi-final with France, as he made abundantly clear while confirming his side for Friday's bronze-medal contest with the Wallabies.

He repeated his view that Alain Rolland, the Irish referee, could and should have made a different call in respect of Warburton's tip-tackle on the wing Vincent Clerc and underlined the point in unexpected fashion.

“When we lost (prop) Adam Jones to injury in the opening minutes and then lost Sam, we had a discussion in the coach's box about faking an injury to another prop and going to uncontested scrums, which would have helped us,” he revealed.

“We didn't do it because we felt it wasn't the correct thing to do — in terms of morality and the spirit of a World Cup semi-final, it wouldn't have been fair or right. That was our decision.”

The International Rugby Board, which is said to be “privately stunned” by Gatland's comments, said yesterday that it is to review the coach's claim that he considered cheating.

The Board attempts to guard against players faking injuries by having doctors at pitch-side to assess them.

Gatland went on to re-assess Rolland's red-card call: “I honestly think he made the wrong decision.

“Under the rules and regulations, he was perfectly entitled to show Sam a red card, but every game is different and you have to take into account the circumstances, the situation, whether or not there was intent.

“All of those things considered, and given Alain Rolland's experience, a yellow card would have been right.

“I've spoken to Paddy O'Brien (the International Rugby Board's referee manager) about this and he supports Alain 100 per cent, as I would expect him to do. But I'm disappointed.

“The top referees are appointed because they're meant to make the right calls.”

Gatland said he was still feeling “hollow and empty” following the events of the weekend.

And, in reference to Wales’ poor kicking in the semi-final, he added: “I think both James Hook and Stephen Jones were disappointed with the way they played.”

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