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Gatland Explains England RWC Final Comments

Warren Gatland has come out to explain his comments around England’s Rugby World Cup final as well as looking back on one vital mistake he made in his career

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Former Wales head coach Warren Gatland has given his reason for predicting England’s fall in the Rugby World Cup final while talking to Off the Ball.

The coaching great, who stepped aside from his 12-year stint with Wales following the conclusion of their World Cup campaign was promoting his new book ‘Pride and Passion’ and explained how the emotional toll of England’s semi-final win over New Zealand was hard to follow up. 

“At the very elite level of sport, it is the emotion that counts. And sometimes when you have a great performance and you are emotionally charged right on the edge, it is difficult to repeat that,” he said. 

It proved to be the case for England as they failed to find another gear in the final, being dominated by South Africa who ran out 32-12 winners. He drew on past experiences in his career to back up his point, including a discussion about the 2013 British and Irish Lions Tour.

“When I look back at my time coaching, there are two examples that really strike out for me. One was in London coaching Wasps, and we played Leicester in the last round. Martin Johnson’s last game and Neil Back’s last game at Welford Road. I completely underestimated the emotion of that. They beat us 45-24 or something like that. Then in the final, I didn’t think they could bring the same level of emotion so we put 40-points on them in the final. It was the same scenario with Australia in the second test in 2013. James Horwill, tears running down his eyes, the effort and energy they put into that, I didn’t think they could bring the same the following week,” he added. 

That Lions tour threw up some major complications for Gatland including a decision to drop Irish legend Brian O’Driscoll for the third test, which caused huge backlash and the Kiwi regrets how he went about the decision that week. 

“The biggest mistake we made was on the Sunday after the second test we put Brian up for media. That was a huge mistake because everyone just assumed with Sam Warburton getting injured that Brian was going to play and going to be captain the following week. So we made the decision and I said to the other coaches ‘there could be a big falling out over this’. I didn’t realise quite the extent,” he finished. 

Gatland’s experience is easy to see and he will take charge of yet another Lions tour in 2021 as he leads his charges to South Africa as he completes the full cycle of tours having also managed them to a series draw with New Zealand in 2017. In the meantime Gatland has taken up a role with Super Rugby franchise the Chiefs as he returns to his homeland looking to add further success to his CV.

Rugby

Cheika Lands Surprise New Job

Michael Cheika’s future has been talked about since his departure from the Wallabies set-up, but he has now confirmed what he will do in the short-term

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Former Wallabies head coach Michael Cheika has decided to take a role with Rugby League side the Sydney Roosters on a short-term basis.

The 52-year-old has been out of work since leaving the Wallabies set-up following their quarter-final exit at the recent Rugby World Cup. However, it has now been confirmed by the Daily Telegraph that he will make the cross-code switch to the Roosters. 

Cheika will come in as a coaching advisor and links up with long-time friend Trent Robinson, who is currently the Roosters head coach and he is delighted to have Cheika on board. 

“He is helping push myself and the assistant coaches to improve and challenging our ideas and helping push us again in 2020,” he said. 

Cheika himself has admitted he is enjoying his time with the squad as they look to defend their back-to-back NRL championship titles. 

“I’ve loved it. I was really honoured that they thought I could contribute. I want to make sure the stuff I’m doing is contributing the way Trent wants me to,” he said. 

There were reports ever since the conclusion of the World Cup linking Cheika with a role at French Top 14 side Montpellier, but that position was filled this week and this new role sees him being able to remain in Sydney for a while longer and only work with the Roosters one day a week. 

Cheika will bring a huge amount of experience to the treble chasing champions having worked with top teams such as Stade Francais, the Waratahs and Leinster as well as his time with the Wallabies. 

He will be hoping that this experience will help boost his CV for his next role in rugby whether that be league or union in the long-run.

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Rugby

Jackson Calls Full Time on Refereeing Career

Glen Jackson has called time on his career as a referee after an eventful career on the pitch

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Referee Glen Jackson has confirmed that he has decided to call time on his professional refereeing career.

Jackson, who was a former Maori All Black during his playing days will continue to support the New Zealand refereeing group up until March, but hopes to continue his journey in rugby in a different role. 

“I feel extremely privileged to have worked as a professional referee for New Zealand Rugby over the last 10 years but I feel the time is right to finish and move onto something different but hopefully still be involved with rugby. I would like to thank Lyndon Bray and Bryce Lawrence for everything they have done for me and their support in making this decision. I think New Zealand refereeing is in a positive space with great leaders and fantastic young referees who I will miss working with,” he said. 

As a referee Jackson started in 2010 and quickly rose through the ranks going on to take charge of his first Super Rugby game in 2011 and his first test match the following year. 

In total he has taken charge of almost 200 matches in the past ten years including 32 international test games. 

That time on the pitch followed his time as a player, and between the two he has been involved on either side of the whistle for 25 years. 

He made his name as a player at Super Rugby side the Chiefs before heading to England where he starred for Saracens, making 159 appearances. 

During his refereeing career he was named New Zealand Referee of the Year on five occasions and became the first New Zealander to play and referee 100 matches. 

Hopefully he can remain in the game in some capacity and be as successful as he has been in the past at whatever he does in the future.

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Pro14

Connacht Update Ahead of Leinster Clash

Connacht have provided an injury update ahead of their PRO14 game with Leinster this weekend and head coach Andy Friend has also had his say on Paddy McAllister’s citing dismissal

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Connacht have been boosted on the injury front but still have less than 30 players to pick from for their game with Leinster at the RDS this Saturday according to head coach Andy Friend.

With Irish duo Bundee Aki and Jack Carty currently on a two-week mandatory lay-off, as well as three players undergoing the return to play protocols for HIA’s and 12 further squad members injured Friend has admitted that they haven’t even been able to put 30 men through training this week. 

“We had 28 today but that was with four academy boys and two other fellas who we have got here training. We are skinny. It’s not ideal but when we travelled to South Africa we travelled with 26 players. Whenever we are under 30 I just say ‘imagine we’re in South Africa’, because we had two wins over there against the Kings and Cheetahs,” he said while speaking to the42. 

However, there is a possibility that prop Paddy McAllister may be involved after his citing for a dangerous tackle during last weekend’s loss to Ulster was dismissed. 

He is currently under return to play procedure for a head injury, but if he comes through he should be able to play and speaking on the decision to dismiss his citing Friend believes it is not only good for Connacht but for the sport. 

“I think it’s brilliant news. I think it’s great for Paddy and for Connacht, but I think it’s actually good for rugby. I totally get that we need to protect the player, but we play a collision sport where accidents do happen. You can’t have two big guys running into each other, trying to hit each other with their heads. There is no future in that. But sometimes you get collisions when that just happens,” he added. 

He went on to defend McAllister and claimed that the player himself was upset over the possibility of people thinking that he had deliberately fouled Marcell Coetzee. 

 “I know Paddy was really remorseful for what happened and I know he spoke to Marcell post-game. He was disappointed that people were thinking that it was a deliberate act because that’s not Paddy McAllister. He’s a hell of a man, a gentleman in his own right. He is not a foul player. He was gutted that people were thinking that was deliberate. But there was a lot of work behind the scenes put in on his behalf,” he finished up. 

Friend will be hoping that McAllister will be available for selection come Saturday as his team take on the current PRO14 Conference A leaders, who have been in rampant form so far this season and can produce results even with a weakened team as they proved last weekend away to Munster.

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