Former Wales head coach Warren Gatland has admitted that he had suspicions that a player he used to coach while he was in charge of the national side was doping.
Speaking to Off the Ball, Gatland, who also discussed his comments regarding England in the lead up to the World Cup final, has claimed he had a notion that one of his former players was using performance enhancing drugs.
“You know I haven’t come across personally any players that I’ve coached from a Wales perspective that I would – well sorry, maybe one. Maybe one, now that I think about it,” he said.
When asked about where he had coached this player, he didn’t give a definite answer but made it pretty clear that it was a Welsh international, but he made it clear that he had no proof of the claim so he couldn’t be certain about it.
“He may have done, yeah. It’s probably a little bit unfair of me to say I had suspicions about one of them because I’ve got no evidence or anything like that. Because it’s kind of like just saying, ‘Is there a possibility?’… It was more like a couple of people making jokes sort of thing. And you go, ‘Oh is that…,” he added.
It was a pretty big statement from the new Chiefs coach, with former Ireland international Neil Francis writing last week that maybe people should put an asterisk beside South Africa’s World Cup win due to there being a strong possibility that players were doping in his opinion.
His claim was linked to the fact that Springbok winger Aphiwe Dyantyi had been found to be using performance enhancing drugs earlier this year, after breaking onto the scene recently as well as studies done in the country.
However, Gatland’s suspicion will raise questions as to whether he was right and was this player an integral part of his time in charge, but for now we will just have to wonder who he is talking about.
England Coach Set for Departure
England have confirmed that one of their coaches will leave at the end of the season and they already have his replacement sorted
England have confirmed that assistant coach Steve Borthwick will leave his role come the end of the season.
The 57-cap former England international has been involved with head coach Eddie Jones since 2012, having previously held the role of Japan’s forwards coach.
However, in 2016 the two left for England, during which time they have picked up two Six Nations crowns and made it to the Rugby World Cup final last year, but Borthwick admits following the tournament in Japan he made the decision to call time on his current role.
“I am very proud of what we have achieved as a team since 2016, culminating in a Rugby World Cup Final last year. Having come back from Japan, spent time with my family and reflected on my time with England, I have decided to step away from the role towards the end of the season,” he said.
Speaking on his departure head coach Eddie Jones praised his assistant’s impact and confirmed he will be missed around the camp.
“I have had a great seven years with Steve. He is a loyal, hard-working and analytical coach but I understand he needs now to get out on his own following this campaign. He’s made that decision and we are really pleased for him. He created a great lineout for England and really developed the young guys. If you look at someone like Maro Itoje, he’s become a world-class lock under Steve. He has also turned our maul into a weapon for us and he’s done brilliant work co-ordinating the England programme. We will miss him greatly,” he said.
The Rugby Football Union have already announced that Jason Ryle will take on the position in November and he is delighted to have the opportunity.
“I am really excited about the opportunity to work in a world-class programme with the England national team and someone like Eddie with his experience is very appealing for me. It will be a real honour to work with some of the best coaches and so many quality England player,” he said.
Ryle is currently the assistant coach at Australian rugby league side Melbourne Storm, where he has been since 2016, but this will be a huge step up for him.
Wales to Face Japan in the Summer
Wales have confirmed that they will play Japan in the summer along with their clashes with the All Blacks
Wales have announced that they will take on Japan in the far east this summer with the venue to be confirmed in due course.
It will be Wales’ first time back to Japan since their Rugby World Cup campaign last year, where they went on to finish fourth following a semi-final loss to eventual winners South Africa and another loss to the All Blacks in the third-place play-off.
The match will take place on June 27th, ahead of the team’s trip to New Zealand where they will play two tests against the mighty All Blacks and head coach Wayne Pivac is looking forward to the recent World Cup hosts.
“Going back to Japan for Wales will be a really big fixture on the back of a really successful Rugby World Cup for Japan as hosts both on and off the field. The squad and Welsh Rugby Union made a huge impression on the country in the lead up to and during the World Cup and attracted a lot of local support so it will be great to take the squad back to Japan for the first summer test,” he said.
Wales’ neighbours England are also set for a return to Japan in the summer, with Eddie Jones’ side set for a two-test series against the Brave Blossoms.
It is a huge boost for the Japanese team, who will now get to face some top-tier nations following their incredible World Cup displays and will now have the chance to continue their progression at the top-level of the game.
Huge Relief for Jones Ahead of Six Nations
Eddie Jones will be a relieved man with one of his key men set to return from injury this weekend
The England star left the field of play in the 65th minute of that match and the worst was feared as medical staff helped him come off.
It is a massive boost for Jones, who lost his star early in the Rugby World Cup final last year due to concussion and would have been worried that he would once again be without him for the country’s Six Nations opening game against France on February 2nd.
If he can stay fit between now and then Sinckler appears to be nailed on for a starting role in what will be the team’s first game since their World Cup loss to South Africa.
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