Warren Gatland - WRU Statement

The Welsh Rugby Union has put plans in place for some senior squad preparatory coaching functions to be managed internally by Warren Gatland’s assistants as he recovers from an accident suffered during a family visit to New Zealand over Easter. His return to Wales has been delayed as he recovers from leg injuries sustained in a fall while working at his family beach house on Waihi Beach at around 8.30am (New Zealand time) last Easter Monday morning. He was cleaning windows when he lost his balance and fell three metres onto concrete taking the full impact on his heels. He suffered multiple fractures to the right calcaneus and also a fracture to the left calcaneus. Consequently, he is in leg casts and requires surgery by the leading orthopaedic surgeon in the Waikato to reconstruct his right heel. The injury he suffered is not expected to have any major impact on the continuing preparations for scheduled Wales matches in June 2012. While in New Zealand Gatland will continue to receive information primarily from Rob Howley, Robin McBryde, Shaun Edwards and Neil Jenkins as they observe and monitor squad players and potential players over the next few weeks. Further information gathered by the Head of Physical Performance, Adam Beard, Head of Performance Analysis, Rhys Long and National Medical Performance Manager, Prav Mathema, will also be sent directly to Gatland. Assistant Coach Rob Howley will oversee day-to-day management of the coaching staff in Wales and will play a key role in liaising between the Wales based staff and the Head Coach during Gatland’s temporary absence from camp. Team Manager Alan Phillips will keep the Head Coach informed of all other squad preparation issues. The WRU Group Chief Executive, Roger Lewis, has approved the plan for temporary injury cover and he has indicated that although there is no current requirement for any of the staff to be appointed caretaker Head Coach he and Gatland have agreed to recommend to the WRU Board that Howley would fill the role if required. Although it could be several weeks before he fully recovers he is expected to be able to return to active coaching duties before his recuperation is complete. Roger Lewis said: “We all wish Warren a speedy recovery from the injuries he has suffered in this extremely unfortunate accident. “Knowing Warren as I do I can reassure the Welsh rugby public that he has diligently put the people and processes in place to ensure he stays closely linked to what is happening in the game back here in Wales. ”I have spoken to Warren on a number of occasions since his fall and have told him he will lead the tour to Australia unless anything unforeseen happens in the prognosis for recovery we are working to.” 


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