VIDEO: Bizarre Ospreys coaching twist
PRO14 SPOTLIGHT: Struggling Ospreys held a media conference on Friday aimed at clarifying the confusion surrounding the Welsh club over whether Allen Clarke is still with them or has been sacked as coach.
However, it emerged at the event that the situation surrounding Clarke – handed a three-year deal in April 2018 – remains in limbo due to legal matters.
Minus their Wales World Cup contingent, Ospreys started the season horribly, losing five of their six PRO14 matches and getting well-beaten in their two Champions Cup outings.
That led to reports on Tuesday that Clarke was sacked. It took the club more than 24 hours to respond on Twitter that the matter was being handled by legal and that situation hasn’t changed judging by what Ospreys had to say about the matter on Friday.
Clarke’s impending departure was now apparently a “personal conduct” issue, according to chairman Rob Davies and managing director Andrew Millward.
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🏉 Ospreys chairman Rob Davies and managing director Andrew Millward tell media they should not have “hijacked” a Pro14 press conference by asking about former head coach Allen Clarke. pic.twitter.com/Gm8wgnYsfv
— BBC ScrumV (@BBCScrumV) November 29, 2019
According to reports on walesonline, it was admitted that the Irishman is still legally employed by the region but had relinquished his position of the team ahead of Saturday’s league match with Cheetahs in Neath.
Davies said: “It became a matter of personal conduct. When it’s a matter of personal conduct, it’s very difficult to comment because of the legal ramifications.
“You cannot go off-piste and that’s what happened at the start of this week. I’ve been around a long time, it’s pretty unusual but it’s impossible to say anything other than it being a matter of personal conduct. Today, he is still legally an employee but he’s not in charge of rugby matters.”
How Ospreys have handled the situation was much criticised on Wednesday after James Hook and assistant coach Richie Pugh attended a PRO14 event at Cardiff City Stadium but refused to take questions regarding Clarke and whether or not he was still the team boss.
Millward claimed: “The purpose of the PRO14 meeting was to talk about PRO14 and rugby so we were obliged to supply a coach and a player, not management, so it was unavoidable other than you [the media)] could have chosen not to ask them kind of questions to the people you had in front of you and you didn’t.”
Sources: WalesOnline & RugbyPass