/ Rugby

Gatland unlikely to face IRB probe

Updated: Wednesday, 19 Oct 2011 07:47

Warren Gatland looks set to avoid punishment for his controversial remarks
Warren Gatland looks set to avoid punishment for his controversial remarks

Wales coach Warren Gatland looks unlikely to face an International Rugby Board investigation following his controversial comments about faking injury, Press Association Sport understands.

Gatland has revealed that he considered asking a front-row forward to feign injury and force uncontested scrums during the World Cup semi-final defeat against France last Saturday.

His remarks were made during a press conference three days ahead of Wales' World Cup bronze medal match against Australia.

Welsh Rugby Union group chief executive Roger Lewis said that Gatland should be praised for deciding against the fake injury move.

The IRB are aware of Gatland's comments, although they have yet to make any official response. Privately, they are surprised by them, but it seems unlikely the matter will go any further.

Gatland had already seen prop Adam Jones depart with a calf muscle injury against France, and then eight minutes later Wales captain Sam Warburton was sent off.

Despite being reduced to 14 men for more than an hour, Wales scored the game's only try through scrum-half Mike Phillips and only lost by a point, 9-8.

Gatland, still disappointed by referee Alain Rolland's decision to send Warburton off, revealed that in the wake of the red card the coaches talked about faking an injury.

"I know a lot has been spoken about the red card," Gatland said.

"In retrospect, I can understand in any game under the letter of the law there are a number of decisions referees can make.

"I just thought on that occasion, given the significance of a World Cup semi-final, to give a yellow card would have been an appropriate decision.

"That is why they are appointed as the top referees in the world, because they make the right decisions."

Gatland continued: "I will give you an example with what happened after that. We'd already lost Adam Jones, and we discussed in the (coaches) box whether we would fake an injury to one of our props and go to uncontested scrums.

"But morally, I made the decision it wasn't the right thing to do.

"We could easily have done that in the first 25-30 minutes, but in the spirit of the game, in the spirit of a World Cup semi-final, I didn't think that was the fairest or the right thing.

"That is why I honestly believe Alain Rolland made the wrong decision. Under the rules and regulations he was perfectly entitled to give a red card. But every game is different.

"You have to take the circumstances of the situation and the intent, and in that situation, given his experience and the role he was given, a yellow card was the right decision to make."

Lewis, meanwhile, told BBC Sport: "Warren Gatland should be applauded in this professional era where tough things and tough decisions are made that he didn't go into that particular zone.

"In professional sport there is always an opportunity to manipulate the laws, and that opportunity could have presented itself.

"But we did not go there, and I think it is a tribute to Warren that he honestly expressed that."