WARREN GATLAND STUNNED reporters this morning by admitting that he considered cheating in last Saturday’s semi-final defeat against France.
The Welsh coach thought about asking one of his forwards to fake injury after his side had been greatly weakened in the first half by the loss of injured prop Adam Jones and captain Sam Warburton to a controversial red card.
A further injury to the Welsh front row would have forced both sides not to contest the scrums, and Gatland revealed this morning that the option to use such dirty tactics had been discussed by the coaches.
“We discussed it but morally I decided it was not right.”
“We had already lost Adam Jones and we discussed in the box: did we fake an injury to one of our props to go to uncontested scrums? We could have easily done that in the first 25-30 minutes of the game.
But in the spirit of the game, in the spirit of a World Cup semi-finals, I didn’t think that was the fairest or the right thing to do.
Warburton’s dismissal means that Wales will be without their captain for Friday’s bronze medal match against Australia, with loosehead prop Gethin Jenkins taking the armband instead.
The flanker was handed a three-week suspension by the IRB on Sunday, but Gatland still maintains that referee Alain Rolland got the decision wrong.
“In the terms of the rules and the regulations, he is perfectly entitled to give a red card – but every game is different.
“You have got to take into account the circumstances of the situation, the intent. And I think in that situation, with his experience and the role he was given, that a yellow card was the right decision to make.”
Warburton is one of just three changes made by the Welsh coach ahead of Friday’s game.
Ryan Jones comes in to the side at number eight with Toby Faletau shifting to the openside slot, while Paul Jones and Bradley Davies replace Adam Jones and Alun Wyn Jones in the tight.
Wales: Halfpenny; North, Davies, Roberts, Williams; Hook, Phillips; Jenkins, Bennett, James; Davies, Charteris; Lydiate, Faletau, Jones.