Wednesday, 20 October 2010
Premier Rugby's decision to comply with IRB guidelines by not releasing Premiership players until August 4th 2011 means that Gatland (and other national coaches whose players earn their living in the Premiership) will only have 35 days to prepare his squad before the start of the tournament. Only 35 days, Disgraceful. After all what could he possibly get done in 35 days? It's barely enough time to learn one another's names for god's sake.
An alternative view might be that Premier Rugby might actually (albeit inadvertently) be doing Wales et al a favour, allowing already knackered players to re-charge their batteries whilst sparing them from interminably dull training camps for a few weeks. Far be it for me to suggest that there is often a direct correlation between the length of time a coach has access to players and how abysmally they go on to perform on the pitch.
Naturally Gatland, being a coach, doesn't see it like that. Buoyed by his recent contract extension (and his track record of 4 wins out of the last 12 matches during the past year obviously speaks for itself) he has branded Premier Rugby's stance as being "completely ridiculous", instead taking the entirely conciliatory step of warning the likes of Dwayne Peel and Andy Powell that their Rugby World Cup places are consequently in doubt.
How very, very mature.