Warren Gatland admits considering faking injury ar Rugby World Cup
Gatland's Wales lost Saturday's semifinal 9-8 to France
Wales were reduced to 14 men after Sam Warburton was issued a red card
Gatland said the decision to dismiss Warburton was wrong
Wales coach Warren Gatland considered faking an injury to one of his players during Saturday’s 9-8 Rugby World Cup semifinal defeat to France, the New Zealand-born coach revealed at a press conference Tuesday.
Wales had already lost prop Adam Jones to injury before being reduced to 14 men when captain Sam Warburton was issued a red card after 18 minutes, following a dangerous tackle on France wing Vincent Clerc.
Gatland, 48, admitted the Wales coaching staff discussed feigning an injury to one of their props in the wake of Warburton’s dismissal, a move which would have meant scrums were uncontested for the remainder of the contest.
“We had already lost Adam Jones,” said former All Blacks hooker Gatland. “And we discussed in the box, did we fake an injury to one of our props to go to uncontested scrums.
“But morally, I made the decision that wasn’t the right thing to do. We could’ve easily done that in the first 25, 30 minutes of the game.
“But in the spirit of the game, the spirit of a World Cup semifinal, I didn’t think that was the fairest or the right thing to do.”
Gatland also disputed the decision to issue Warburton, 23, with a red card, only the second of the tournament so far, in such a crucial match.
“I honestly believe Alain Rolland (the Irish match referee) made the wrong decision. I think the right decision was a yellow card.
“In terms of the rules and the regulations, he’s perfectly entitled to give a red card but every game is different. You’ve got to take circumstances, the situation, the intent … given his experience, a yellow card was the right decision to make.”
Rugby union’s governing
Despite Wales’ defeat, Gatland reaffirmed his commitment to the country after reports in the British press suggested he could replace 2003 World Cup winner Martin Johnson as England coach.
“I’ll be honest, at some stage in your rugby career, as I’m a Kiwi, I’d like to come home and do a bit of coaching in New Zealand,” Gatland, who is contracted to Wales until the end of 2015, told the tournament’s official website.
“But not at the moment and I have made that commitment to Wales. We feel like we’ve shown a lot of character, we feel like we’ve played some great rugby since we’ve been here.
“We’ll leave here with our heads held high having earned a lot of respect.”
Wales face two-time world champions Australia in the bronze medal match on Friday, after the Wallabies were beaten 20-6 by hosts New Zealand in the second semifinal on Sunday.
Warburton will miss the clash at Auckland’s Eden Park, with prop Gethin Jenkins set to replace him as Wales captain.
Jones also misses out due to the injury he picked up during Saturday’s loss, with Paul James set to cover at prop. Lock Alun-Wyn Jones makes way for Bradley Davies in the only other change.