"If I've Upset Him, There Was No Intention" - Everything Warren Gatland Said About Sam Parry Quitting the Wales Squad After Springboks Defeat - Ruck

“If I’ve Upset Him, There Was No Intention” – Everything Warren Gatland Said About Sam Parry Quitting the Wales Squad After Springboks Defeat

Ospreys hooker Sam Parry shocked the Wales squad last week, as he quit the wider training group ahead of their Summer tour to Australia. Parry was informed by Wales head coach Warren Gatland that he was amongst the fringes of the squad in support of replacement hooker Elliot Dee, which prompted the 32-year-old’s exit from the group.

Gatland addressed the issue to the media this past Saturday, after Wales were beaten 41-13 by South Africa. Despite a valiant first half performance to only trail the Springboks by one point at the break (14-13), Rassie Erasmus’ side ran away with the second half to kick start their Summer Internationals at Twickenham, before hosting Ireland back on home soil. Speaking after the match, Gatland discussed Parry’s exit;

“He left on… [to Dewi Lake] Thursday was it? Monday, sorry. I was surprised he left the squad. He didn’t talk to me. You need to talk to Sam, he hasn’t spoken to anyone. I understand his agent has been pretty vocal which is a little bit disappointing. When Sam came in the week before I was straight up with him, told him the situation he was in with the squad.

“We put a (news) release out to all the players that we had picked 37 and would only take 34 on tour and just wanted to be straight up, as a player I would want to know where I actually stood. I said that he was initially covering for Elliot [Dee] with the injury, so I was clear on that. I said I don’t want to stuff you around, you’ve been brilliant for us when you have come in in the past, just see what happens with that. So I’m not sure how I was disrespecting him there.

“I talked to him on Monday about the competition in the squad, I thought there was some real competition with the hookers. I didn’t mention him by name but I didn’t want to leave Sam out. If I’ve upset him there was no intention, I just would have rather he had come and see me and said the way he felt. It was definitely nothing from me in terms of trying to disrespect him, I just wanted to be honest and upfront with him.

Warren Gatland, Head Coach of Wales is interviewed during the 2023 Guinness Six Nations Media Launch at County Hall, Lambeth, London on Monday 23rd January 2023 | Photo: James Fearn/PPAUK.

“And I think that would have been a better approach had he come and said that rather than just walking off, really. I suppose you understand that people take things a little bit differently and you just have to deal with it. Whether he’s had any regrets, I know he’s good friends with Gareth Thomas and Gareth contacted him straight away and said ‘look, just get on the phone’.
In the future, yeah. I don’t think we would close a door on a player.

“Whether he has any regrets, sometimes people make impulsive decisions, players as well. I’m the first person to be able to forgive someone in terms of putting their hand up and not getting everything right, making mistakes. You have to have some compassion if it was impulsive. Considering the next day Elliot pulled out with an injury, Sam would have been on the plane. So whether he has any regrets about it I’m not too sure.”