Gatland on that 'awkward' family meeting
REACTION: If the pre-match family get-together was ‘awkward’, imagine what the post-match meeting was going to be like.
Warren Gatland found it hard to take pleasure in his son’s match-winning drop-goal which saw the Highlanders snatch a 28-27 victory over the Chiefs to launch New Zealand’s in-house Super Rugby Aotearoa tournament on Saturday.
Gatland, the acclaimed British and Irish Lions coach and former Wales mentor is now steering the Chiefs, who took a 27-25 lead over the Highlanders with five minutes remaining after trailing for most of the second half.
But with time almost up Bryn Gatland, a late replacement in the Highlanders side, snapped over a drop-goal from nearly 40 metres to seal the match.
“I’m not happy that we lost the game, but well done to him,” Warren Gatland said.
“I don’t care if he’s my son or not. I’ll go away and have a look at that but I’m still disappointed in the result.
“We get ourselves in front and then we turn over to them, we didn’t secure possession and that’s the game for us.”
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The younger Gatland, omitted from the original Highlanders’ match-day 23, learned Thursday he would likely be on the bench as flyhalf Josh Ioane struggled with a groin injury, but did not tell his father.
“I had dinner last [Friday] night with him and mum and halfway through dinner he got a text and said ‘you’re on the bench tomorrow’ and I said ‘I don’t want to give the game plan away’.”
Because of coronavirus-enforced international travel restrictions, New Zealand has launched Super Rugby Aotearoa – the Maori word for New Zealand – to provide a competition for its five Super Rugby sides.
Among rule tweaks for the championship is the introduction of a golden point to resolve matches tied at the end of regular time and Gatland said this has seen all teams practising the drop-goal, an art not regularly used in New Zealand.