Tuesday, 26 October 2010

A bad week for the Welsh Rugby Union

Just a short post today, supposed to be working, but a quickie word on the events of the last week or so around Warren Gatland’s new contract. Announced last monday, the headlines told us it would keep him in Wales until 2015.
I wrote about it the day it was announced. I made the point that while the contract was not worth the paper it was written on it served as a big vote of confidence from the WRU to Gatland, a clever tactic in a world cup year.  
The Problem is this ‘vote of confidence’ has totally dissolved in the revelations about the details of the contract. It started the day of the announcement when the WRU chief executive admitted there were ‘safeguards’ for both sides in the contract. Then it came out that there was a clause allowing Gatland 5 months leave to take the Lions job. Now, it has come out that there is a clause allowing the WRU to sack him if Wales have a poor World Cup.
It makes a bit of a mockery of the smiley-faced handshakes of last week.  And it has certainly ruined any message of confidence that the WRU would want to portray in a World Cup year. Instead it piles the pressure on Gatland and his team by reminding him and everyone that his job is gone if he screws up.
Add this to news that Lee Byrne, Ryan Jones and Leigh Halfpenny are alll out of the Australia test, I think it's fair to say it has not been a great week for the WRU.

Wales coach Warren Gatland
Gatland: Under pressure

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