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Dublin: 15 °C Monday 13 July, 2020

Gatland 'not happy' after his son's late drop goal thwarts the Chiefs

Things could get a little bit awkward at the breakfast table in the Gatland household tomorrow morning.

warren-gatland-with-officials Warren Gatland pictured before today's game in Dunedin. Source: Photosport/Derek Morrison/INPHO

WARREN GATLAND FOUND it hard to take pleasure in his son’s match-winning drop goal which saw the Otago Highlanders snatch a 28-27 victory over the Waikato Chiefs to launch New Zealand’s in-house Super Rugby tournament today.

Gatland, the acclaimed British and Irish Lions coach and former Wales boss, 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. 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,” Warren Gatland said.

“We get ourselves in front and then we turn over to them, we didn’t secure possession and that’s the game for us.”

The younger Gatland, omitted from the original Highlanders’ matchday 23, learned on Thursday he would likely be on the bench as fly-half Josh Ioane struggled with a groin injury, but did not tell his father. 

bryn-gatland-takes-to-the-media-after-kicking-the-winning-drop-goal Bryn Gatland speaking to the media after sealing the win for the Highlanders. Source: Photosport/Joe Allison/INPHO

“I had dinner last 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.

© – AFP, 2020

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