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    #31

    Wales coach Warren Gatland brands current Guinness Premiership the ‘weakest’ he’s seen</span></font>

    After selecting just a single player from the Guinness Premiership for the autumn internationals, Wales coach Warren Gatland has branded the league as the “weakest” he’s seen since arriving in the UK from his native New Zealand.


    Gatland’s 29-man squad for the autumn Tests sees only Sale Sharks scrum-half Dwayne Peel currently plying his trade in England.

    And Gatland, a Premiership title winner when he coached Wasps, has pulled no punches following a succession of poor games during the season’s first six rounds.


    ‘’I think the Guinness Premiership, having watched the games, is the weakest Premiership I’ve seen since I have been up here (in the United Kingdom),’’ he said.

    ‘’It is the weakest in terms of the quality of the teams involved.

    ‘’Look at Gloucester. When I was at Wasps you would go down there and know you were going to have a really tough, physical match up front.

    ‘’I couldn’t believe they just weren’t competitive against Wasps on Saturday (Gloucester lost 35-6 at home).

    ‘’When the Premiership is strong, it’s a good gauge of how players are likely to perform at international level.’’

    Although Peel features in Gatland’s group for the November schedule, he is currently unavailable to face New Zealand in Cardiff on November 7.

    Because the All Blacks game falls outside the recognised International Rugby Board autumn Test window, Sale are under no obligation to release him.

    And Peel’s probable absence takes on added significance given that Ospreys number nine Mike Phillips is sidelined for around 12 weeks with a serious ankle injury.

    Gatland added: ‘’At this stage Dwayne is not available for the All Blacks game.

    ‘’I spoke to him yesterday and he is desperately keen to be involved against New Zealand. He is pretty frustrated by the situation.

    ‘’If Sale decide to release him, or Premier Rugby, then there is a possibility he might be part of the 22 for the All Blacks game.

    ‘’The sad thing about it is it’s the player who is really being affected. I would go out of my way to make sure a player was released.

    ‘’Playing international rugby is the pinnacle of any player’s career.’’

    Peel was widely expected to be joined in the Wales squad by his Sale colleague, prop Eifion Lewis Roberts, especially as Adam Jones and John Yapp are currently unavailable because of injuries.

    But Gatland has opted not to include the 21-stone tighthead.

    ‘’We have a concern about Eifion,” he said. ‘’We’ve told him that to play at international level he still needs to get a bit fitter and drop a bit of weight.

    ‘’A player starting in the Premiership, there is no guarantee he should be selected for Wales. We are conscious he has got some potential and could come into the side in the future.

    ‘’But, as a player, if he wants to be involved in international rugby there is some work to do on his mobility and fitness. He is well aware of that.’’

    Comment


      #32
      Well he would say that...but he's probably right!
      \"There is no need for temples, no need for complicated philosophies. My brain and my heart are my temples; my philosophy is kindness\".
      Dalai Lama

      Comment


        #33


        BBC Wales Sport - October 27th 2009
        <DIV =line><S&#079;NG>Premiership chief defends quality -</S&#079;NG> Mark McCafferty, the chief executive of the Premier Rugby Association, has spoken out to defend the quality of the rugby played in the Premiership. </DIV>


        He was speaking after Wales coach Warren Gatland said the English league was the weakest he had seen in Europe. McCafferty told BBC Radio 5 live: "It was a pretty cheap shot, I thought."


        And he suggested Gatland was secretly frustrated that he could not force English-based players out of club commitments for the New Zealand clash.
        <DIV =bo>


        Wales face the All Blacks in a 74,000 sell-out showdown at the Millennium Stadium on 7 November, before the International Rugby Board's official Test window opens.


        McCafferty said: "What's going on underneath is that Wales have organised an extra international themselves. They know full well they don't have the ability to call up players from outside of Wales on a compulsory basis so I think maybe there's a bit of feeling about that maybe." Defending the Premiership, he added: "The fact is attendances are up 17% this year, and one particular match - Saracens against Northampton at Wembley Stadium, there were more supporters there than in the entire Celtic League." </DIV>
        <DIV =bo>


        Gatland blamed the "weakness" of the Guinness Premiership for his decision to leave Sale prop Eifion Lewis-Roberts out of the Wales squad.


        Gatland stated: "The fact a player's starting in the Premiership is no guarantee that he should be selected for Wales."


        Warming to his theme, the New Zealander added: "The Guinness Premiership, having watched the games, is the weakest Premiership I've ever seen since I've been up here [the northern hemisphere].


        But he also said Lewis-Roberts needed to slim down: "We have a concern about Eifion and we've told him that to play at international level he still needs to get a bit fitter and drop a bit of weight."
        </DIV>
        "The trouble with resisting temptation is that you may not get another chance"
        Edwin Chapin (1857 - 1942)

        Comment


          #34

          Warren Gatland is right about the Guinness Premiership</span>

          By Mick Cleary Rugby Last updated: October 27th, 2009

          Usually you can rely on opposition coaches to crank up the pressure artifically, but that’s not what Warren Gatland was upto when he questioned the standard of the this season’s Premiership.

          Fergie’s the master of the tactic – diss the ref, undermine opponents, deflect blame. Sir Clive wasn’t bad at it either. He hauled us in once to lay on a cinema-type expose of how the Aussies were running illegal ploys in midfield. It didn’t take Eddie Jones long to fire back. Serious points and pantomine mixed in together.

          But Wales are not playing England for some time, so there’s no mileage there in Gatland him having a pop, as he did by saying: “The Premiership, having watched the games, is the weakest Premiership I’ve seen since I have been up here (in the United Kingdom). It is the weakest in terms of the quality of the teams involved. Look at Gloucester.

          “When I was at Wasps you would go down there and know you were going to have a really tough, physical match up front. I couldn’t believe they just weren’t competitive against Wasps on Saturday (Gloucester lost 35-6 at home). When the Premiership is strong, it’s a good gauge of how players are likely to perform at international level.”

          Do you know what? Shock! Horror! I think he’s telling the truth. The standard of the Premiership has dipped this season. No question. Too cautious. Not enough tries. Why is that? Post-Lions hangover? New protocol at the breakdown? Players not good enough? All very troubling

          Comment


            #35
            london irish and northants werent bad the last time i saw them against irish teams[img]smileys/wink.gif[/img]
            This country will be one entire slum unless we get into action, in spite of our literary movements and Gaelic Leagues it is going down and down. There is no life or heart left in the country.

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