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Wales to give injured Gatland more time ahead of Australia tour

Updated: Tuesday, 17 Apr 2012 13:28

Gatland faces recuperation after landing on his feet on Easter Monday
Gatland faces recuperation after landing on his feet on Easter Monday

Warren Gatland's wife says a decision on whether the Wales coach will lead his side on their summer tour of Australia will be made "closer to the time". 

Gatland is set for surgery in New Zealand next week to reconstruct his right heel after he fell three metres on to concrete while cleaning windows of the family holiday home at Wahi Beach. 

He had been due to return to Wales this week following time off after he led Wales to the RBS 6 Nations title and a Grand Slam last month. 

Gatland suffered multiple fractures to his right heel and a single fracture of the left heel, and he now faces several weeks recuperating in Hamilton after the operation.

Wales play the Barbarians in Cardiff on 2 June, before heading Down Under for three Tests against Australia and a midweek fixture against the Brumbies in Canberra.

The Welsh Rugby Union already have detailed contingency plans in place, with assistant coach Rob Howley ready to step up if Gatland cannot take charge of the trip.

"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 told the Waikato Times.

Recalling the accident on Easter Monday, she added: "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.

"He is hopeful it won't be too long that he is 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." 

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