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Sean Davies

Gareth Jenkins' reign (136)

Well, the result that it seems every rugby fan in Wales has been screaming out for has come about and coach Gareth Jenkins has got the boot.

Some of the posters on 606 and other forums have even suggested that one of the blackest results in Wales’ history – the 38-34 defeat to Fiji that dumped them out of the World Cup – was worth it to secure his end.

But I have to buck the trend and express sympathy for Jenkins, who has never truly been able to put his stamp on the team.

And as we finally accept that the 2005 ‘golden generation’ was nothing but a myth, I would suggest that a number of the senior players have got out lightly from the blood-letting blame-game.

sacked_huw300x300.jpgWhile I’ve never doubted Jenkins’ passion and commitment to Welsh rugby, I was not an advocate of his getting the national job, that’s for sure.

His entire career had been spent as an old-school coach at Llanelli, and - though he had his share of success at that level - his tactics in the biggest Heineken Cup games had been negative and defensive, and ultimately led to failure.

Despite that, Jenkins was simply the only man in a position to get the country back behind the squad when he took over 17 months ago.

But it is questionable how much influence he has actually had on the team, and – despite all his talk of “physicality” - the only change in tactics from the Scott Johnson reign seemed to be the introduction of a woeful kicking policy that left Wales wide open to counter attack.

Jenkins took charge of a squad filled with senior players, whose position had been cemented by the memorable 2005 Grand Slam triumph.

They have been consistent advocates of the so-called “Welsh Way”, a brand of all-out attack that worked perfectly – some may say miraculously – in 2005.

Before the Fiji match, the entire squad repeated the mantra that Wales must have no fear of playing their way, that they would take the islanders on at their own game and run them off the park.

The 10 minutes of attacking rugby produced by Wales at the start of the second half against Fiji shows just how enticing this conception of rugby can be.

But the clueless first half simply displayed blinkered vision, Wales failing to capitalise on their set-piece advantage, running penalties that should have been belted deep into opposition territory, exposing themselves to the Fijians’ big hits, and spilling dangerous turnover ball.

These issues bring us back to the subject I had vowed to avoid banging on about again in this World Cup - Mike Ruddock.

To set Ruddock’s reign in context, for the last 20 years of what has been – by and large – rugby misery for Wales, a first-choice national XV has been capable of competing at world level.

Graham Henry’s ‘Great Redeemer’ act was to cut a swathe through the internal politics, get the best XV on the pitch, and deliver a winning game plan.

Henry’s reputation won him the respect of the players, giving him the authority to deliver success.

But in the goldfish bowl of Welsh rugby, players began to believe their own hype, Henry lost the dressing room – and Wales’ limited resources meant he could not find players of the necessary calibre outside the squad.

Henry returned to New Zealand, his deputy Steve Hansen taking over and proving hugely popular with the players.

Hansen’s work behind the scenes has been rightly praised and his development of the squad’s conditioning and professionalism was clear to see.

But he was never a winning coach, and it took Ruddock’s mixture of pragmatism and adventure to deliver success.

When Wales edged to an 11-10 win over Fiji in 2005 – one of the worst performances of Ruddock’s reign – the coach was pleased that his side had shown the ability to win tight games, a crucial pushover try exploiting the islanders’ set-piece weakness.

But splits over tactics were already clear in the camp, Scott Johnson having the backing of the players for a style of all-out attack that proved disastrous at Twickenham in 2006.

The details of Ruddock’s departure have still to be revealed, but with Johnson back in Australia Jenkins was taking charge of a tight squad with their own vision of the way forward.

The coach said before the World Cup that he hoped to get at least four years in the job, a period that would allow him to mould his own squad with many of the stalwarts leaving the scene.

Jenkins departs with a miserable record of six wins from 20 games that is hard to defend.

But it is well to remember the hurdles he faced, barriers that it will perhaps take another foreign coach to surmount.

Sean Davies is a BBC Sport journalist based in Cardiff.


Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 06:15 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Donnyballgame wrote:

Well someone must pay the price for two years of going backwards. A complete and thorough cleaning is required. The WRU won't fire themselves - though that should be part of it. Shame for some of the players, but it is time for Wales to start over. Again. Shame.

  • 2.
  • At 06:41 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • David Evans wrote:

"I was not an advocate of his getting the national job, that’s for sure."

Very good, Sean.

  • 3.
  • At 06:53 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • ieuan wrote:

the regions system has been a complete mess. it should be restructured again if possible to get the warriors back into the mix (perhaps have it such that these regions only play in the heniken and downsized magners?). the WRU jumped in the deep end far to quickly.

gareth jenkins has been an absolute joke along with all the coaching staff. IMHO, he seemed to spend more time defending himself, the players, make rubbish documentaries and bang on about the date of the RWC final.
if only next RWC wasnt in NZ, because otherwise i think we'd be able to get graham henry back at the helm.

  • 4.
  • At 06:56 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Aled wrote:

Although I was one of the fans to call for Jenkins is head even during the 6 nations, I still don't believe he can be totally accountable for the demise of our performances sicne the Grandslam. Lets be fair we had three great overlaps in the first 10 minutes but didn't take advantage of them, and that's not Jenkins is fault. However, he does control the pattern and tactics. You get taught from an early age to draw the man to create space for others, we were simply playing to lateral (throughout the tournament) and then when we went direct the team was so spread out that no one could support the ball carrier to secure it so we could build pressure. We need to rebuild completely and have to look at bringing a coach in from the southern hemisphere who understands the physicality needed in modern day rugby and the professionalism required. Although I wasn't a big fan, that's what Hansen did.

I personally would look to young players with great potential who should be in their prime by the next world cup. Players like Gavin Evans, Bradley Davies, Tom James, Ashley Smith, Lou Reed and along with the existing quality players we have create a good blend of youth and experience. I think Alfie has to go because he holds to much influence in the camp along with Martyn Williams (physicality didn't match up in wc) Charvis (only got one season left in him) Kevin Morgan (never been good enough!)

  • 5.
  • At 06:58 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Richard John wrote:

It is quite clear that "player power" has been one of the worst ideas allowed to take root in the modern Welsh game. We do have good talent in the national side but poor leadership and a lack of composure is nearly always self evident - the loss to Australia in the first game over there being a good example. Let it not be forgotten that we would have beaten Fiji if we had taken our kicks and perhaps even if the otherwise excelletn Martyn Williams had run under the posts for his final try.

Lets take the opportunity with some of the self-styled leaders of player power leaving the squad to appoint a strong-willed manager (Nick Mallett looking a good choice - lets get him before England do). Then the normally hairbrained and reactive WRFU need to back their man for a full 4 years.

  • 6.
  • At 07:07 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Otto wrote:

It was never only about the dreadful results record during his tenure, it was the sheer bad management of players, tactics, media presentation and worst of all the way he surrounded himself with 'yes men' who were neither qualified nor experienced in the first place!!
Yes, he was/is passionate, probably his sole redeeming quality! His treatment of Henson & Cockbain was woeful, when he dropped Hook (after Canada) The lad was the last to hear of it! Taking a never-will-be-an International (James)to France leaving Cockbain at home, risking Evans with no match-fitness, the list of embarrassing actions is endless!
Worst of all? Supporters believed his sound-bites and that a semi-final place was on for us, later reduced to a 1/4 final place of course but we all cherished the hope of an eventual resurgence in Welsh rugby given what Jenkins had to build-on post-2005!
For me, his bubble eventually burst in the 'friendly' against England! His after-match statement (one of many?) that 'England played a game we didn't expect' made him look a complete buffoon! So many times under Jenkins we have thrown away games before half-time then played catch-up, frantic rugby, to retrieve a situation.
Those were HIS tactics, along with the kicks out-of-hand that gifted possession, not pressure, to the opposition!
It appears that Martyn Williams & Stephen Jones were NOT misquoted when they talked about these same tactics and game-plan! The supporters never knew what our 'game-plan' actually was, neither it seems did the players!
Fiji was a disaster waiting to happen! Most of us even began to believe that a 'respectable' defeat to Australia and even (possibly) South Africa was acceptable! Not in a month of Sundays Mr.Jenkins!

  • 7.
  • At 07:15 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Jimmy wrote:

What an awful article. Wales clearly has the talent, look at the development sides. Welsh rugby lacks the leadership both on and off the field. The 2005 team could have and would have gone on to much better things. If only the WRU were not in charge of Welsh rugby...

  • 8.
  • At 07:18 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • DaveM wrote:

we need to get the next coach (whoever the poor soul is) and his coaching team and the regions singing from the same hymn sheet. In NZ, all the super 14 teams have a similar style (fast, powerful, skillfull), such that any player stepping up from the super 14 teams into the national squad knows what's expected, and can fit into the All Blacks strategy. Also, all the super 14 teams have MOSTLY NZ players, giving them strength in depth in every position.
So why do we manage to have, for example, all the decent Welsh seond-rowers, playing for ONE region (means only 2-3 will have a game every week). That's madness. Also, the regions often play national team pla=ers out of position - can't be good for Wales. And finally, some of the regions won't have Welsh squad members as their first choice (again at the Ospreys, I can see Marshall keeping out Phillips). No wonder Wales struggle desperately for strength in depth - I don't care what the squad players and former coaches say - we do definitely struggle in certain positions. There was no 12 on this campaign for example, whilst we can't make up our mind our no1 in other positions, no9 or front row for example, or can't decide someone's best position - James Hook springing to mind.

A LOT to put right before 2011, but there is time, if we can find the will and the means (and nuture the palyers). Probably means a few miserable 6Nations before then though. But if we allow the new coaching team the time, and they explain CLEARLY what's trying to be done, rather than hiding behind management gobbledy-gook (like "processes") whilst not getting the best players on the field, and getting them playing their best and with confidence.

Come on - if we all try and be positive about the future, we can start putting things right.

  • 9.
  • At 07:21 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • ropley wrote:

Time he left.

He's a nice guy, but time he left.

There's always been a tension between the players - who want to play open, exciting rugby (... and all that that means) and the management ... who broadly, don't.

Roll on the next one. We won't reover till we get a coach who is aligned with our DNA and our playing style.

  • 10.
  • At 07:23 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • exileinwales wrote:

At the end of your article you hint very strongly that the players were almost solely responsible for the style "Welsh Way" of playing.If this is the case then that is madness, it is the lunatics in charge of the asylum.The coach must lay down his vision for the pattern of play and tactics.It seems to tie in with the public perception that the Welsh team had no team plan. The players were,as you see it, hell bent on playing their way, leaving the coach very little room for manoeuvre.
I have to say finally that there were three banana skins from the South Seas,Samoa,Tonga and Fiji waiting for a big country to trip up -England managed to avoid slipping up,(SA nearly came a cropper).Wales played into Fiji's hands. England and SA managed to impose their style on the opposition.
The players are mainly to blame but the WRU allowed the players to get rid of Ruddock. So they must take some of the blame.

  • 11.
  • At 07:25 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • John wrote:

I have supported Wales (my home country) from England through thick and thin over my tender 36 years (mostly thin, in fact) and will continue to do so. However the question must be "who'd want the coach's job?". No-one is going to be lining up for it if they stop for one minute and look at the past treatment through the media and other quarters. No doubt the knives are already being sharpened for the next one. I am not in any way defending Jenkins - it's probably right that he goes now - but we need a blank canvas with the team (no-one is above the axe) and the new coach will need time and, what's more, support to bed in a new team and approach properly. That will inevitably mean a poor six nations, especially if new players are brought in, but I think that's how Hansen put the foundations down pre 2005. Without patience and forward-thinking, no-one will want the job.

Other than that, our basic goal kicking must be improved upon. The ball shouldn't be near one of the posts, yet alone hitting it three times. If they'd gone over, we would in the quarter finals now.

  • 12.
  • At 07:32 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • NCon wrote:

I'm glad he's going, his coaching team were a disgrace! We have gone backwards in terms of skill and our forwards simply aren't comabative enough. I do think the players should shoulder the blame too, Peel was poor for the whole RWC as was Stephen Jones. Playing Hook at inside centre against Fiji was disastrous!!!

  • 13.
  • At 07:32 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • derek belm wrote:

The "golden generation" tag sums up the problem.

We did well to get a deserved Grand Slam, but you are dead right in that the players started to believe their own hype:
* some of it media-generated (BBC at fault along with the rest of the Welsh-based media);
* some of it fan-generated (good old Alfie is now being pilloried, but he's a simple bloke and hasn't changed one bit over the course of 100 caps);
* but most worrying and damaging is that the players fuelled their own hype.

The Grand Slam should have laid a foundation, something solid to build on for once and take what is without doubt a talented squad of players on to the next level.

Yet they destroyed the foundations themselves and aren't even close to picking up where they left off.

One Grand Slam was never going to be enough. The best teams keep winning, keep moving forward, keep looking to make improvements.

Our team talked a fantastic match based on what happened in the Grand Slam season and simply never delivered.

Do some of these players genuinely believe they are "professional"?
There are exceptions (and I can't believe Martyn Williams is getting stick for putting us in a winning position against Fiji). Our players are happy to take the trappings and financial rewards of the professional life, but that does not automatically make them "professional".

Wales doesn't have a pre-ordained right to qualify for the QFs of the RWC and the Welsh players do not have a pre-ordained right to call themselves professional. They have to earn it. They started to earn it during the Grand Slam season and have royally stuffed it up ever since.

If "player power" has prevailed in recent years then we've got exactly what we've deserved.

The first thing that needs to change is the "as long as beat the English" or "as long anyone beats the English" mentality.

Get a grip people. They're laughing at us.

Where do we go now?
I shudder to think.

  • 14.
  • At 07:36 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Simon wrote:

Jenkins had to go as he constantly told us to judge him on the RWC. But no-one yet has commented on the defensive coach? Did we have one? It didn't seem like it. We all know that Wales can score tries but that isn't enough when you give away scores so cheaply and easily. It happened time after time during the warm up games and into the tournament. My sons u'7s teach a better defensive system than the welsh team, but then we do live in exile in England. Wales could do worse than look at Richard Hill at Bristol. He has a knack of making the best of a bad bunch.

  • 15.
  • At 07:39 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Andy wrote:

Gareth Jenkins during an interview looked like someone who had lied on his cv & was now being found out.

The way Wales have played under his management have proved this. The players must take responsibility for bad personal performances (what's happened to Peel & have we got a hooker who can throw?)

Can't deny he has a passion for the sport or his country but he & his coaching staff have not been up to international standards.

It must be terrible to want a job so badly & find out your just not up to it.

I think we need to look at the developement of our club & (so called) regions coaches as well as player developement.

  • 16.
  • At 07:40 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Huw wrote:

It promises to be a wonderful Magners sesaon. All the Welsh and irish player available before the end of September!.
Then the Scots, with theie wonderful skills and scintillating play, will come in . Every cloud has a silver lining !

  • 17.
  • At 07:42 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Bryn wrote:

Was a huge fan of Gareth Jenkins, being a Scarlets supporter, but he just hasn't been able to step up to the world stage.
The Welsh game these days seems to be based around a huge pack of forwards sticking up their jerseys and running, not giving our "world class" backs the chance to show what they can do.
Wales needs to go back to the drawing board and look at the way we are playing and that can only come from the coach, who influences the tactics.
If we get quick ball from the forwards, our backs can be some of the most lethal in the world.
Let's get Ruddock or Henry back in charge and maybe then Wales can be great once more.

  • 18.
  • At 07:43 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Scarlet in Cardiff wrote:

Just had a look at the record of all Welsh coaches on the BBC website. Only two coaches have lasted longer than three years since 1979!!! How can the Welsh expect to develop a coherent style of play when players are subject to a new coach every two years.

I counted 14 coaches from 1979, and only 4 had a >50% record. When will we learn that sacking coaches merely satisifes a temporary "revenge" instinct?

This is not a defence of Gareth Jenkins. He asked to be judged on the World Cup, and his record is difficult to defend.

However, it is an appeal to those "knee-jerkers" who have called for "heads to roll" for the last 28 years to understand that the coach is not the issue in Wales - the facts speak for themselves.

4 coaches in 4 years for the same group of players left us with no chance of delivering in the World Cup - that's 4 styles of play and coaching philosophies that players have tried to adapt to; it's a joke.

Our current situation is a team capable of sublime attacking play for 20 minutes in any game. During that time we are a match for anyone. However, we cannot defend at all(particularly around 10 & 12). This has been a problem since Ruddock's era and has steadily got worse; we undercommit bodies to the ruck; our rucking is static and does not drive beyond the ball; we have no kicking game; players cannot think for themselves.

Remedies?

1. Foreign coaches (head & defence)at each region for the next 4 years with Welshmen as assistants.

2. WRU to control all 4 regions and look at re-opening the Warriors. In rugby terms this is a must but can the finances cope?

3. Total overhaul of Welsh coaching structure and education from top to bottom.

4. Let the next coach serve 6 years whatever the results.

  • 19.
  • At 07:49 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • gareth morgan wrote:


Watching wales play on saturday
was very hard to watch
Seeing the fiji players winning all
the ball in ruck and maul and power
playing and attacking in numbers
its clear the welsh game needs
to change to very physical game
by the pack and front men
We do not have the players of yesteryear the greats of welsh rugby
who could turn a game we need to perform as a team with big strong
hard hitting players who constantly
put pressure on the opposistion
the game of today as changed but wales as not

  • 20.
  • At 07:53 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • T. Lloyd John wrote:

Welsh rugby was dealt yesterday the long overdue wake up needed to place discipline, respect and authority in the hands of the national coach.

Gareth Jenkins in the wake of Ruudockgate was given a free reign....by all but the senior players who still believed in the folly of playing without attention on winning the ball possession and understanding the field position and game line.

Other teams play very hard ball in the tackle area. Fiji was downright dirty in the first 15 minutes, but they had knocked Wales off their game plan, if it ever existed......

Gareth Thomas and Mark Jones looked clueless defending the opportunistic try by Fiji. Shane Williams celebrating his try with the dive was like a red rag to a bull....Martyn Williams spoiled his try with a doofus placement away from the posts.

NZ fans at Big John's in Houston, TX were so sorry for the Welsh boys that they bought a round for the bar....we were devastated having made plans for next Sunday against SA.

Hopefully, the forthcoming round of self introspection of the whole Welsh Way will produce something of value and pride...again. Gareth Edwards is right. Barry John is right. Graham Price is right....they deserve the respect they have earned.

  • 21.
  • At 07:53 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Steve wrote:

Glad to see the back of Jenkins. His selection for the England friendly and post-match comments beggered belief and all of his selections were puzzling (J.Thomas ahead of Wales best 2007 player Popham?).

Wales do have good players but our matchday XV never equals the sum of their parts. Look at Argentina - player for player they may not match up to some of Wales' but they play as a team and have a game plan that all players know.

Two other small points, while Fiji throughly deserved their win their treatment of Popham was a disgrace.
Lastly, why did we change our goalkickers?

Ruddock is King.

  • 22.
  • At 08:05 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Richard B wrote:

Well having loyally followed Wales for my entire adult life I can't any of this was much of a surprise. The ludicrously bipolar welsh media should take a look at itself for insisting on viewing the team in a completely binary way - they're either turnips or utterly world class when of course we all know that they are somewhere in between (although granted at the moment closer to the vegetable end of the spectrum!). The evidence suggests GJ was not a great coach and watching the team play under him reminded me of the bad days under Henry when the players couldn't get to grips with the 'pod' system and looked constantly indecisive. They look overcoached. That said, Fiji played well and everything went for them on the day. This isn't a bad Wales team but their execution in france has been poor. Poor passing, weak in the tackle and terrible kicking from hand. Can someone please tell me why the SH players can all kick the ball 80 yards perfectly whereas our punts may make 30. The only guy we've got who can kcik teh ball a long way was back home slapping on teh fake tan. Kicking distance makes a a huge difference to the outcome of games.

  • 23.
  • At 08:10 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • S D Evs wrote:

It seems to me that many of us are missing the fundamental problem that has plagued our national team for years. We are not strong enough, hard enough, fit enough or fast enough to compete. The question that nobody wants to address is why. After many years of professionalism, and all the money and facilities that the players have enjoyed, are we having to put up with nothing more than mediocrity. All the people involved deserve huge criticism, from the top all the way to the players because they are not putting in the necessary effort to improve. Too many fancy haircuts and fancy tattoos and not enough hard graft. There are far too many experts and analysts and glorified energy drink carriers surrounding the whole set up. Bring in a hard man like John Mitchell from N Z and see how many of this lot last.

  • 24.
  • At 08:11 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Richard wrote:

Where do we start? Gareth Jenkins had to go. Unfortunately he surrounded himself with the wrong coaching staff. Our line out is shocking, coached by a novice coach in Robin McBryde. Our defence is woeful, coached by somebody not wanted by any region (Rowland Phillips).
However, Pickering and Lewis also need to look at themselves and how teneable their position is. If they are managers of the WRU they should of seen this coming, and the inadequacies of the coaching staff. If the public can see it why not those responsible for the appointments?
A new start is needed. A new chief exec, a foreign coach with no allegiance in this goldfish bowl we call Wales.
We can achieve success, but it has to be with strong leadership, something Pickering and Lewis do not offer.

  • 25.
  • At 08:11 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • cheech wrote:

He had to go.
I do believe that the players have a lot to answer for also.
However team selection and tactics is ultimatley the responsibility of the coach and his insistence on choosing poor performers match in and match out has led him to this.

I hope Wales can take a look at the rest of the RWC and see what we need to aspire too.

  • 26.
  • At 08:25 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Dean wrote:

I shudder to think where we would be if he had more time to "put his stamp on the team".

He was clueless, picking the wrong players, playing the wrong tactics, making the wrong substitutions, and all the while talking absolute drivel.

  • 27.
  • At 08:28 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Mark Thomas wrote:

People's choice, eh?

Which people would that be? The people who wished the Scarlets had some fresh ideas? The people who felt he'd been so 'hard done by' when the WRU opted for a visionary coach in Ruddock, rather than a stale, going nowhere coach like Jenkins?

Whatever Ruddock did to upset the players in 2006 has impacted the Welsh game massively, but Wales must now look to fresh ideas, a complete new outlook, and a foreign coach who will again avoid the favouritism that Jenkins was guilty of. He was to Wales & the Scarlets what Waldron was to Wales/Neath. Peel should never have started during this tournament, and Stephen Jones showed a complete lack of mental strength and leadership by giving the kicks to Hook against Fiji. His backroom staff were a mixture of laughable and ridiculous.

Henson was dropped for being unfit, yet they took Ian Evans with them. Will James was taken ahead of Cockbain, when at best he's a Premiership second-string, rather than second row player. They endeavoured with Popham when he played poorly, and JT when he was poor, dropping the form players rather than the underachievers. I hope Jenkins leaves Welsh rugby - he's so out of touch with the game that the modern player surely couldn't benefit from his involvement?

  • 28.
  • At 08:29 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Sean Davies wrote:

I agree that much of Jenkins' selection and tactical thinking has been muddled, but there's a hell of a lot of 'blame' being hurled around and it shouldn't all fall on his shoulders.

There are clearly major problems in the Welsh rugby community as a whole - that goes for the media, fans, players, coaches and administrators. It's all inter-related, and it can all be seen in the Ruddock saga - that's why it's so hard to move on from.

well said poster no 23.

I think we in England can say exactly the same and I'm sure that applies to Scotland and Ireland as well.

The thing I don't understand about welsh rugby is the politics. can you explain it please?

All the 'home' nations should start talking to each other and come up with a club and national structure which helps us all- just as they have in the southern hemisphere.

  • 30.
  • At 08:33 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Trevor Davies wrote:

GJ had to go. The tactic failed, the team failed. He chose both. In fact he should never have been appointed in the first place.
Lets not lay the blame soley at his door, some of those players did not front up and should take part of the blame.
Then there are the administrators, they are the rot in the WRU, as politics is the biggest problem faced by Wales. Would a national UK league be the solution to the failure of the home unions? Although Eng & Scot qualified , they were not all that convincing. We do not have the intensity of the super 14, the Heineken cup does not match up to that.
Have we too many overseas players in wales, yet they attract the cash. So where does the strength in depth come from? Our 4 best second rows at the Ospreys? God help us we're in a mess. It's going to be a long and painful road to the next world cup.

  • 31.
  • At 08:37 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Brian (Poole, Dorset) wrote:

The players should take ultimate responsibility. Perhaps those responsible for Ruddocks departure should be heading out of the doors too. Ruddock instilled discipline and brought success, I think it's about time those responsible for his departure were outed.
In Wales the greater emphasis is on the three teams with money, and they are half full of non-welsh players, this doesn't help the cause.
It will be interesting to see who is brought in now. I look forward to a better 6 nations!!

  • 32.
  • At 08:38 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • david Thomas wrote:

Ok to me it is quite obvious why we failed in the World cup. We played limited tactics and the wrong one. Point one : Do not play to the opposition tactics. Australia dont try and rough them up. Fiji don t try to beat them at sevens etc.
A lot of talk about the "welsh way" which I assume is based on the seventies style of rugby and what I feel people forget is that we did nt just throw the ball around . I would remind everyone that a key part of that side was the pontypool front row and I had to say this is what went wrong yesterday we were playing Fiji now I m not an international coach (although if the WRU come knocking I m sure I can do a worse job than Jenkins.)2 mins in we are a throw in deep into the fijian 22 now my thoughts were we have better forwards throw to the middle and drive we did nt play to strengths we lost .
We need to remember that the Welsh way does invole grunt first then unleash the backs but remeber to do the grunt work

  • 33.
  • At 08:43 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Darren wrote:

Roger Lewis:
"This is not blaming one person, this is not about blaming Gareth Jenkins. All of Welsh rugby needs to look at itself and ask itself the tough questions.

"It needs to think, 'What are the right systems and structures that we need to have in place so we can compete at the highest level?'

Well in my opinion the 'structures & systems' must have been in place for us to produce a Grand Slam wining team in 2005....? The team is practically the same - so surely Lewis is talking non-sense. Anyone else agree?

  • 34.
  • At 08:45 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Clive wrote:

Proud of the Welsh team whenever they play - I think the only option left would be to send the whole squad to the southern hemispere for a year, to play with the All blacks or Aussies. Their skill and aggresive team play might be imparted on our boys. (My Great grandfather played for Wales in 1900s

  • 35.
  • At 08:49 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • arobins wrote:

I am also a Welshman living in England!!, and what a complete embaressment yesterday was...but you have to admit , it was always on the cards!!! Jenkins did ask to be judged o the world cup!!! he got his judgment today.....but where do we go now?? There are rumours of bickering and in house fighting amongst the players...(did anyone see peel and phillips after the game?..) and player power exists in welsh rugby..we definately need a coach with a very strong backbone who is willing and able to make decisions...the WRU is a joke (they hired jenkins and somehow left Ruddock go..so why not hold them responsible too?)..and who is going to want this job...i just hope that we are able too choose wisely this time and look tio the long term future...we need five teams in Wales now..(look how many of our internationals are spending time warming the bench) but can you see the WRU admiting it was wrong to fold the Warriors??? Never in a month of Sundays...Pickering is so far up his own .... i reckon he has pictures of himself on his wall telling him how great he is!!! (he was never that good a player!!!)...
Help us please......

  • 36.
  • At 09:03 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Iwan wrote:

Idiot of a coach. He didn't have a clue about selections, substitutions (as exemplified by the subs gainst fiji just as wales were finally taking control, then lost it again), tactics (ridiculous kicking, no forwards interlinking with backs, playing naive rugby), and his shameful postmatch interviews always summed up for me why he was never up for it in the first place. Backroom staff have to go too - defence, forwards, backs, attack, conditioning coaches from SA, OZ and NZ have to be brought in. We look (and in the first half at the very least) play and talk a game like amateurs, and haven't fully moved into the professional era yet. I hoped under Ruddock that this was being addressed; we had class forward, attack and defence coaches and a great conditioning coach, while playing sensible rugby within our ability, but it would seem that Jenkins has gone out to completely undo all of this.
Wales has a good system which produces players of good calibre. Now we need central contracting, good conditioning, and the regions to play similar brands of rugby. The difference in size, power, speed (generally, with exceptions) of Wales to the SH sides, and france, england, italy and even scotland and ireland is frightening. We look like children trying to play schoolboy rugby., compared to the huge hardmen from other nations. There's no passion evident from those playing, probably because they think that they will keep their place. There's no belief like Ireland had a couple of years ago (not any more), no willingness to join a scrap and play dirty and physical if necessary.

If you are from the WRU and are reading this, take note: sack yourself, your colleagues and everyone in charge. Get rid of the ridiculous notion that managers are out to steal your power, and allow welsh rugby to progress with continuity into the professional era. I, and I bet many more, will not be renewing my supporters membership, nor buying any merchandise, nor attending any matches, until this mess is sorted out. Get it right for your sakes, the players' sakes, welsh rugby'ssake, and for the sake of all those of us who have blindly and foolishly paid good money for years to watch wales wander around in the doldrums talking big and not delivering. Player power and media hype cannot be allowed to influence the setup, and I personally think a foreign coach would see an end to that; if he takes the WRU on to make sure that he is in control, so be it. Please don't sack him because you think he's getting to influential. We need either Gatland or Mitchell at the helm, who can teach the players something about passion and playing hard, and won;t pick a useless backroom staff.
PS can we please get a new kit manufacturer - its a small point but we're the only major nation that uses reebok, who have no rugby tradition as far as im aware, and keep designing rubbish kits. Lets revert to a nice traditional collared shirt; something like ireland and scotland had before the tight RWC kits came out.

  • 37.
  • At 09:12 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • alex west wrote:

Dont blame garteh kenkins for all of this.Welsh supporters expect far too much from the team.when are you going to realise wales are the second tier of world rugby...they all give everything.... players coaches managers etc...that should be enough.expectation is far too high and who ever takes over wales will be in the same position as gareth...lets have a change of manager not coach and enourage everyone to pull together.there are a lot of young welsh hopefules that many internatonial teams would be happy for...

  • 38.
  • At 09:19 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Steve H wrote:

I saw this coming months ago. Jenkins talked his team into what happened yesterday. Whether it was the petty jealousy of what Ruddock achieved, but for me he did nothing but run down his own team, which has proved fatal for morale.
He was a dinosaur. He surrounded himself with yes men and failed dismally to see talent he had available to him. He became increasingly negative towards the end of his days at the Scarlets and his thoughts unchallenged by all around him brought only failure.
Please now lets get the best coach available, (as long as they are not Welsh, and give them the tools to do the job. Now hes gone, I just wish every other coaching dinosaur will consider their outlook, Lyn Jones and Dai Young, I m refering to you.

  • 39.
  • At 09:27 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Dai wrote:

The decision-making of a couple of the players in the first ten minutes cost us the game - both good players - Tom Shanklin and Stephen Jones - togther with some poor goal kicking by Hook and Jones - it was not down to the coach - this time!

  • 40.
  • At 09:40 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • MonkeyCat wrote:

I feel that Wales are the Notts Forest of Rugby. Since the late seventies/early eighties, both sets of fans have been deluding themselves, thinking glory is just around the corner.

It's no surprise the welsh have been dumped out of the competition so early.

  • 41.
  • At 09:44 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • tony thomas wrote:

welsh rugby needs to take a good look at its self.getting rid of jenkins alone is not the answer. you could put any coach in the the world there, and he may have short term results.but in the long run the same old story will happen.The WRU need to act for the good of welsh rugby now.We need another region as four is not enough when there so many foreign in the four that we have.I think that a wales A side is a must to help any new coach. all this could be pay by trimming all the hangers on from the WRU and the 4 regions.These guys are killing our game

  • 42.
  • At 09:50 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • disappointed wrote:

bet the welsh would love to have ruddock in charge!

  • 43.
  • At 09:58 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Dadws wrote:

Let’s get real. Wales as a nation no longer produces hard players from working class backgrounds of mining and steel. Today, too much emphasis is placed on conditioning and fitness of our young quality players that have little or no raw strength, having up graded from school boy rugby to the professional ranks.
Fiji and their fellow Polynesian cousins are naturally strong and fit and are hungry to succeed and catch the eye of a cheque book waving manager of a Super 14 or European club!

  • 44.
  • At 09:58 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • keith rogers wrote:

6 from twenty sounds awful but remember this,the game played yesterday is being hailed as one of the greatest games ever. That required two outstanding teams to make it happen. Gareth Jenkins coached one of them.

  • 45.
  • At 10:07 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Carlos wrote:

"The Welsh way" did you all see it, I did and god was I proud to see it, those tries were grafted out, by people who play professional rugby union for a living as a team, be it all of fifteen to twenty minutes inside an eighty minute match.

So we can do it, we can play it, so why in gods name can't we play as a team, for all of the required eighty minute match.

Hitting the posts four times, just unlucky nothing else, just unlucky:
now we start again, with yet another coach, another set of trainers, to do what? instill the "Welsh way" into players for eighty minutes, exactly that.

  • 46.
  • At 10:11 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Ben RJ wrote:

Good riddance to both Gareths! Jenkins with his naïve delusions and Thomas with his embarrassing celebrations. Please never call the latter a legend. He is probably, above anyone and as "captain-of-the-hyped-up-superstar-brigade" the cause of Mike Ruddock's departure when we Wales were discipined and on a crest of a wave.
Well here we are again- "scouring the earth for the best coach". Have we not been here before?

  • 47.
  • At 10:15 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • charles mitchell wrote:

What hope does any Welsh Coach have. Being an Englishman in Wales all I have had is the usual rubbish after a Welsh loss-red card should have been issued,ref is blind and Australia will beat England 100-0. Usual moaning from a passionate bunch of supporters who miss the key fact's- Wales should have won easily. Not Jenkins fault they failed to execute, Jones radar was skew and they got beaten up in contact.

Wales will now look for a foreigner to Coach no doubt- hope he has a thick skin.

  • 48.
  • At 10:18 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • redfoley wrote:

Re comment 24 and several others. Obviously Jenkins had to go- he is simply not up to the task. But the WRU are once more seeking to escape their culpability for this farce by making him the scapegoat. Lewis , Pickering et al should fall on their respective swords too.
This whole sorry mess indicates all to clearly where Wales now reside in world rugby - at the bottom and it will be a long haul back to anything like respectability!!

  • 49.
  • At 10:21 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • dt wrote:

rowland philips - coaches Neath rfc
Robyn Mcbride- no coaching experience at any level
Allan phillips - failed his 11 +

this is the team put together by GJ. Ive never coached but i dont think that any of these guys would get a job with any other union.

  • 50.
  • At 10:24 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Stourjim1 wrote:

The principal function of the regional teams must be to serve as a feed to the national team with the WRU having the power to allocate players to teams so that there is always a supply of experienced players for the national team. I would expect that in key positions there are always at least 3 players of at least potential international class regularly playing in our regional teams - the current national first choice plus his deputy in the national squad and an up and coming youngster NOT a pensioner from the SH. It is probable that we do need a 5th region and it is certainly vital to have a national coach who can recognise talent and be accepted as impartial in his inter regional dealings.

  • 51.
  • At 10:35 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Pete wrote:

Hey, everyone's an expert. Perhaps we should vote as a nation for the starting XV before each game :)

  • 52.
  • At 10:35 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Simeon Gow wrote:

I agree with the comment no.42 wrote, that game took an outstanding performances from both team to accomplish being hailed as one of the best games in the history of world rugby.

However if it wasn't for Stephen Jones' appauling kicking luck we wouldn't be here writing about Wales' defeat, would we??

I do believe though overall ever since Mike Ruddock left, that Wales haven't been playing up to their full potential especially with the quality they have got in the team!! I say if our next coach is as good as him and last for at least for 4 years that RWC of 2011 will be ours "Cymru am byth!!"

  • 53.
  • At 10:40 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Greg wrote:

I'm one of many who is not overly disappointed that GJ has been pushed, although I've never been a fan of his and didn’t think he was the right guy for he job at the time, but who was?
It's not purely gratification of his demise, I think it's for the best and hopefully he'll not now get such a kicking in the press and I hope he finds some role in rugby somewhere!

Putting my armchair pundit hat on, I do feel he was wrong to drop James hook from No. 10 and keep on with Steve Jones - Hook is gifted - Jones is steady – (OK Hook missed a sitter)
The main problem on Saturday was the midfield battle - why didn't he play Shanklin and/or Robinson/Thomas in the Centres – this was a terrible misjudgement on his behalf.

OK it's tough at the top and whom should he have taken and left behind – that’s what I’d like the pundits to comment on - would anyone else have done a better job? - would a foreign coach do any better - after all there's not a big pool of players (4 clubs - none with 15 1st team players = ~ 50/60 players). Surely we'll never get a top (with potential to win a World Cup/Gram Slams/ beat Southern hem team) unless the administration does something about the structure of Welsh rugby.
I don't know what goes on at grass roots, but I think the state of Welsh rugby over the last 20 years needs urgent attention from the WRU and Welsh Assembly to get Rugby into the harts and minds of all schoolboys and then some means of keeping these potential stars of the future interested into their late teens/later life.

  • 54.
  • At 10:44 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • daryl wilkins wrote:

everybody should stay away from wales games untill they all go from top to bottom thats the only thing they will understand,

  • 55.
  • At 10:46 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • si wrote:

Wales needs to be bit more ruthless - they can't see themselves as the harlem globetrotters of the rugby world - get the fundamentals sorted

Like a normal business situation the people with the real clout still retain there positions - they need to have a long hard look at what is best to do - combine the agreession of argentine/italian pack with a bulked up passing skills of welsh backs then we would be world beaters.

By the way is was a cracking game on saturday shame about the results

  • 56.
  • At 10:56 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • John wrote:

The most thoughtful piece of writing I have read on the Welsh debacle. It is indeed hard to argue that the Welsh XV was truly one of Jenkins' making. The senior players got what they deserved for unjusticely ousting Ruddock, their most successful coach since the 70s, because of their egotism. Gareth Thomas has alot to answer for.

  • 57.
  • At 11:08 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • sooziebee wrote:

Always sad to see Wales lose but they were outplayed all over the pitch. Fijians were huge and very physical, and the only time we looked the better team was when they were down to 14 men. Some poor decisions were made on the pitch - always take the points when you're behind! - but the players were under a lot of pressure. Say what you like about Martyn Williams not being big enough but I dread to think of the result if he hadn't played - always first to the ball in the loose and he scored a try that should have won us the game.

  • 58.
  • At 11:19 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • declan wrote:

I'm an Irelaned supporter so i sort of know how you feel. However, as usual there seems to be a rush to blame the coach. I havent watched all of the Wales matches to be fair but i have watched all of the Ireland matches. The Welsh sentiment above seems to be that the coach was to blame... that there is no other reason for your "golden generation" or "welsh way" going off the boil. Oh really!!! The Welsh had a good 2 years to go off the boil, the Irish went off the boil in a metter of months. Sometimes the players just play rubbish. People just want to come up with a conspiracy theory but sometimes its up to the players. The irish players were awful in this tournament, as were the welsh players. The clamour for southern hemisphere coaches is rich. You all ahve short memories! The best coach in the world couldnt have coached the welsh or irish players to the QFs. FACT! The players failed! FACT! And another thing - the players know they failed and they are gutted. They dont need telling and if they themselves blame coaching, they should be ashamed of themselves. Listen to them when they say its their fault. They are being honest!

  • 59.
  • At 11:33 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • T Jones wrote:

What chance of improving the standard of our national game when any potential young players who live beyond the M4 corridor are not developed . If football in Wales can sustain a national league why are South Wales rugby clubs allowed to refuse to travel all the way to North Wales! once or twice a season to play ?. I know the same old rubbish will be spouted in answer to this after our latest disaster as we have all heard over the last 30 years, "north and Mid wales players are not good enough to consider bothering with" " it would be like Aussie teams traveling to Aires Rock " The SWRU should wake up and sort itself out but I doubt very much they ever will be allowed to by their many commities who prefer to contimplate their navels rather than take any positive actions

  • 60.
  • At 11:35 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Gail Jones wrote:

Absolute rubbish - Graham Henry not good enough for the WRU, Steve Hanson not good enough for the WRU, Ruddock not good enough and now Gareth Jenkins
I think its time they stopped kidding themselves- it's the WRU that's NOT GOOD ENOUGH

  • 61.
  • At 11:36 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • cymrobachllon wrote:

agree with articles' sentiments- at the time of GJ's appointment a situation had been created by the players where there were no other options. he can certainly be accused of tactical naivety, but frankly, who were we kidding? you don't create good coaches who earn players respect from average quality internationals.

A lot of the blame should be placed on GT- he shouldn't have even been in the squad for this WC, having barely played for Toulouse this season. I'm truly dissapointed to see him back playing in Cardiff this year, preventing the blooding of young players in a regional system which isn't giving the players a chance.
Actually, it' a bit of a joke to call them 'regions'- 3 of them exist under the same identities. It's time to think radically about the regions and maybe looking to increase their number radically.

and please,everyone, just shut up about the welsh way. fiji played in a manner not dissimilar to that style of rugby- and they absolutely destroyed us. what is this welsh way we talk of? poor fitness? an unsavoury drinking culture that would be an embarrassment in any other professional sport? clearly overweight and unfit forwards? limited, two dimensional rugby? we lack pace, strength, fitness, basic skills. time to stop living in the past and move on.

  • 62.
  • At 11:48 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Paul Waiting wrote:

Post 40 - 'Wales are the Notts Forest of rugby...'

I totally agree. For the population and player base, Wales do reasonably well, always try to play attractive rugby, and whilst I'm no great fan of Gareth Jenkins, for an English point of view I do think the Welsh fans put huge expectations on their teams over the years. I know the glorious Welsh history, like Forest's, looms over everything done in the modern era - but in the same way the 2005 side was majorly over-hyped, the 2007 team shouldn't be excessively attacked. Yes they should beat Fiji, and 8 times from 10 they will, but yesterday was just one of those days when Fiji played at their best.

Wales still impressed more than Ireland, and had a harder pool than Scotland. The future for them isn't half as bleak as some are making out.

  • 63.
  • At 11:53 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • sparky wrote:

When the WRU disappeared up their own behinds and sacked Ruddock (after all he was successful in the Grand Slam and Welsh) I prayed that they wouldn't take Gareth from the Scarlets. My prayers were in vain but for all the wrong reasons! If we talk career paths Gareth is clearly not a new Carwyn James. He has been obviously out of his depth. I feel like a traitor but he hasn't delivered and that is something Ruddock certainly did. The game is about winning and not about who's in charge!

  • 64.
  • At 12:00 AM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Glynn wrote:

Although I agree with many of Aled's comments about young players I cannot agree with his suggestion about the inclusion of Lou Reed. His inclusion would smack too much of desperation - a Walk On the Wild Side, if you like.

  • 65.
  • At 12:13 AM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Dave wrote:

The problem with the players on the pitch is unexplainable. The comparison with Ruddock should be that the players were in several tight spots, and tended to play out of them. What ever the problem that jenkins had, he has had over a year to fix it and draft in new players (we wouldn't have minded so much with a batch of under 27s going out so early, promising an improvement over 4 years).

The problem is from the bottom up. There is no real competition for many places and the WRU need to get down to provide more organisation and let the coachs, staff and players at all levels do the playing (though this wont happen). We're also a fat and alcohol obssessed country, UK wide (cant blame WRU for that).

For the sake of better competition the Welsh regional clubs could consider floating the idea of joining the English Premiership for regular top class opposition as a long term aim. The Irish and Scottish takes on rugby arent helping at the moment. This may help boost competition in the Welsh Premiership - more games, more wear and more tear on players means more chances to turn out for regions in non-essential fixtures.

  • 66.
  • At 12:41 AM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • chrissy shaw wrote:

gareth jenkins is a total joke and so is welsh rugby. How in two years can a side go from grand-slam winners,almost beating the all blacks and springboks to this load of rubbish.stephen jones -rubbish, dwayne peel- rubbish, kevin morgan -rubbish, james hook -overated, colin charvis- over the hill, alfie- rubbish, the list can go on and on, the only decent truly world class players we have are s.williams and m.williams, the rest are either rubbish or average at best. the s-hemisphere are a different class to us northeners, their rugby is played with aggression,pace ,skill,creativity,power and passion where up here it is just boring forward dominated rubbish, i truly believe the the southerners forwards are more skillful than our backs, they are just simply better rugby players and i fear that european rugby as a whole is being left way behind and in fact it may take many ,many years before we can compete against and beat them.

  • 67.
  • At 12:43 AM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • dewicymro wrote:

What ever is going on in Welsh rugby? We seem to be continually shooting ourselves in the foot. The departure of Mike Rudduck must be one of the most bizarre events ever and i would love to know what lay behind it in reality. It does seem to me that a house divided against itself cannot stand and the woeful experience of the last 2 years is good evidence of that. Sometimes we play with passion and commitment, mainly we just turn up for the match and drift around allowing the opposition to get the upperhand. We lost against Fiji because we weren't good enough. Its as simple as that. which is not to say that the talent wasn't on the field wearing red; of course it was, but the "team" weren't a true team, they were a collection of talented individuals who didnt have a concerted plan of action. Presumably that is down to the manager, although in an era of player power I wonder just how much influence the mangager really has with the team. Certainly some of the decisions that Gareth made did seem quite bizarre. I dont think the Gareth Jenkins was good enough for the job, I have never been a Scarlets enthusiast but if he has been fighting prima donna players and the politics of the WRU then he didnt have a hope, did he! Its very Welsh to seek a scapegoat but really we should be looking into causes and not moaning about the front man

  • 68.
  • At 01:26 AM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Chris P wrote:

Gareth Jenkins must be only the first stage in discarding underperformers from the WRU, decisions have to be made about certain people in the WRU hierachy and those same people should have the integrity and courage to walk away from their posts.
We are, as a Welsh public, partly responsible for the state of the national game at present. Game after game, despite dismal performance, we still pay good money to support the national team and whilst we continue to do this, the main structure of the WRU will not change, sat in their comfortable positions, making themselves priority rather than the national game.
This was proved when the Wales A team was axed due to lack of funding despite WRU bosses not relinquishing any perks that cause the union financial burden.
I hope the WRU sort themselves out and soon. I would love to see Wales get back to winning ways as I am sick of feeling gutted at their performances.

  • 69.
  • At 01:37 AM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Ben Morgan wrote:

Here's how it appeared to me:

1. Jenkins comes in
2. Jenkins installs his same laboured but relatively successful gameplan ala Llanelli.
3. Gameplan appears useful for beating Zurich Premiership sides but shown up as not creating enough space at International level
4. Jenkins sticks to gameplan regardless
5. Players stick to poor gameplan for the first 30mins or so
6. Players find themselves behind by 20 points
7. Players throw away the gameplan and try to play like they did under Ruddock/Hansen/Johnson
8. Players have some success but are too unfamiliar with the "Welsh Way" due to lots of training time used up on lateral moves in training
9. Against decent sides we just don't have quite enough to come back and snatch the victory

With the players he had at his disposal Jenkins should have beaten Australia (who are no great shakes themselves) in a close one and dispatched Fiji by 40, Canada by 60 and Japan by 100. He failed miserably to do any of that. That HAS to come down to poor coaching. I'm sure there's some players being too big for their boots in their too but a good manager can deal with that too. Jenkins couldn't do either. He's made huge mistakes at almost every juncture and I'm glad he's gone. I hope we can get someone in with a clue how to play modern Rugby.

  • 70.
  • At 01:50 AM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Owen wrote:

We need a non-Welsh coach because any Welsh coach will be from the wrong village for more than half the WRU, players and general hangers on. That is what undermined Ruddock, and it is why bringing him back is not the answer, even if he was prepared to return.

There is a deep problem in Welsh rugby that makes it more important to put down anyone connected with the club from the next valley or village than to become the best players, team or club that you can. It will take at least a generation, probably two, to flush that attitude out of the clubs where the players first start to learn the game so in the meantime we must look to a whole coaching staff that are outside all the internal bickering.

Ideally we would replace all the WRU with outsiders too until we can learn that the way to national success is for all the clubs to strive to succeed by being the best rather than by cutting down their neighbours. The "so long as we beat the English" attitude is merely the national equivalent of the local "so long as we beat [nearest neighbour]" attitude that is a recipe for miserable failure in any wider context.

  • 71.
  • At 02:27 AM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • tom vakamocea wrote:

So sad that GJ have to leave. All this disaster should be blame to the players. They lack the guts and determination to play hard 80 min rugby compared to small island rugby nations Samoa,Tonga and Fiji.WRU spent $millions for RWC preparation but players failed to produce whereas these poor rugby crazy island nations spends only thousands to take a team to RWC. WR need to pick gutsy players to counter this mordern rugby era.

  • 72.
  • At 02:59 AM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Gareth H wrote:

New blood we need look to the future and develop.I would like see more welsh players pushing themselves like Colin Charvis and Gareth Thomas have done and have been tremendous on and off the park and i hope we can find younger players to replace these welsh legends.My only concern is these youngsters are not getting the chance to excel like Hook did on the sevens stage.

  • 73.
  • At 04:15 AM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Neil wrote:

The record speaks for itself. We have fallen out of the winning habit. It's not enough, in today's professional game, with the world cup as the most treasured competition, to play attractive rugby (for 20 minutes per game), and continually lose, followed by remarks such as "taking the positives" etc. The great teams go out to win, and that's what ultimately counts, and we do have the gifted players to create attractive rugby, but winning MUST come first.

  • 74.
  • At 04:18 AM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • KP wrote:

Wales crash out of world cup...again.
Can any of us really say it's a surprise? Ok, I'll admit that for the last two years I've been just as guilty as every other Welsh fan of standing in the pub or clubhouse going on about how this contest will be Wales' best chance yet to make an impact on world rugby. Not only ignoring the nagging voice in the back of the mind (which most recently has resembled more of a blood curdling scream) but also blinkering myself to the more obvious lack of results which came out in Wales' favour.
Can any of us be blamed for thinking this way? Do we do it to convince others? Do we do it to desperately convince ourselves?
No, I don't think we do. We do it out of a truly heartfelt sense of pride and passion for both the game and our country and we live in the past because it the glory days of the past that sit most comfortably with that pride and passion.
Personally I'm not old enough to remember Gareth Jenkins playing days (no...really...I'm not) and speaking as a relative novice, it seems to me that the WRU opted for GJ because of the past and it would hopefully keep the fans happy. So much for that theory. I felt sorry for the bloke most of the time. He never looked comfortable in the role. As soon as I read one of the other contributers say "...he looked like a man who lied on his CV and had just been found out" I nearly yelled in agreement. The man looked further out of his depth than Ricky Gervaise in "The Office". The only time I've had any respect for him was when he said "Judge me on my world cup". Well GJ, you were tried and you were judged, you were found despairingly wanting.

  • 75.
  • At 04:29 AM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Blooter wrote:

I am proud Welshman who never likes to lose. Mike Ruddock had the foundation to work on and so did GJ but when you have players who think they are above the management then you have a problem.

Stephen jones is not a world class 10 (look at his decesion making) over the past 6 years. Alfie has to go as he seems to be the spear head problem with the players rebelling Yes I know that is harsh but true.

Welsh rugby have to dig deep now and find some one who is in the same mould as Mike Ruddock on Graham Henry (not easy I hear the screams).

Last but not least coach the playersin how to take deep breaths

  • 76.
  • At 06:57 AM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

But for some woeful place-kicking we would be celebrating a quarter-final place. Maybe some of the blame can be placed at the door of the coach but an essentially winning performance was turned into defeat by inadequate place-kicking. we have to place our faith in the best kicker not sap the confidence of our two kickers by switching between them seemingly at random!

Yes there are problems in the loose, with two many turnovers, but some tweaking at the line-out combined with a potent attacking backline can turn this team around quickly. Out with the old "senior" players andand in with the new as soon as possible too please! We've got to get rid of the so-called "player power" and let the coach do his job.


good luck to the next coach, whoever he may be.....

  • 77.
  • At 08:45 AM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Dermott wrote:

Wales edged fiji a couple of years ago with a second team.

Jenkins has had twenty games, if thats not enough to stamp your authority on a team, you ain't good enough. Player power? Once again, if you don't assert your authority-you ain't good enough.

Jenkins desparately wanted this job, he's failed. Surely no argument there. There can be no point in prolonging his reign. Well done WRU for acting quickly. We can see how wise they were in appointing Ruddock against popular opinion.

  • 78.
  • At 09:03 AM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Borderboy wrote:

Who wants the Welsh coaching job anyway?Look at the recent history.A complete lack of support from the WRU ( where are the resignations?) - player power-what seems a lack of player discipline-player apathy-not a lot of passion.Something is fundementaly wrong in our game from top to bottom and yet we have the tallent.
Put three Welshmen in a room,they will form a committee and never agree on anything but blame each other for everything!

  • 79.
  • At 09:09 AM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • K Powell wrote:

Bye Bye Jenkins,

Thanks for being a complete clown and making us a laughing stock once again. No man management skills, media skills or proven tactical skills. Llanelli were absolutely delighted when he got the Welsh job, you can truely see why now.

Surely the WRU will now see that employing a dinosaur will not help us in the future?? Do the WRU even know what their role is anymore? I can't even begin to say how dissapointed I am with this situation. From European champions to nothing in 2 years is truely unexplainable. I will always follow the boys, and will always be proud to wear the shirt. But after every silly thing that comes from the WRU it is getting harder and harder.

  • 80.
  • At 09:28 AM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Andy L wrote:

The first people to go should be the board of the WRU, of course it won't happen. Just look at the coaches they've let go; Graham Henry, Steve Hanson, Mike Ruddock. Unbelievable really. This player power has got to stop, root out the trouble causes and get rid, NOW!! Get a strong coach in who won't take any messing. And finally, as an Englishman with a soft spot for Welsh rugby, don't base your success on whether you beat England or not, the Six Nations was a disaster, but was forgotten about because you beat England.
Is it really 2 years since the Grand Slam?? Reversed ever since,...

  • 81.
  • At 09:33 AM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • pat nagle wrote:

I don't understand the welsh attitude here.
What do they expect when underfunding of the sport has been endemic in wales over the last 25 years.

They must stop living in the past and take a good hard long look at their current structure and make some very hard and brave decisions .


  • 82.
  • At 09:37 AM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Dai Card wrote:

Well hear we go again, another defeat another Welsh coach gets the chop, yes it is very disappointing to exit so early from the world cup but do we really need to sacrifice another Welsh head coach just because we lost a match, lets face it if Wales had won Gareth Jenkins would have been a hero, what about giving the man a chance he has after all a very small pool to cast his net into when it comes to selecting players, and if the rumors about player power are right then it's the Captain and some of the so called senior players who should be going, I say give him until after the six Nations then decide if the WRU wants to sack him

  • 83.
  • At 09:46 AM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • ilyas wrote:

Gareth Jenkins knew what he was entering into when he took the job .

He knew the players and the restrictions placed upon him by the WRU.

The debacles that were the Scotland and Italy games in this years 6N - lack of decsion making, lack of clear thinking or tactical nous, the lack of man-management (how to deal with Hook, the Welsh capataincy, Alfie, etc, etc) - exposed all the flaws in the coaching setup. GJ could and should have analysed these cockups then and worked out methods to eliminate them. That was his greatest failing, repeating mistakes, where mistakes are forgivable in the first instance but not when they reoccur and reoccur.

Christ almighty, you can't use the excuse of blaming the WRU again and again. They are a bunch of inept witterrring idiots with no conception of how to run the game in Wales. You only have to realise that it was a New Zealander who after hearing Gareth Jenkins presentation that offered the job to Mike Ruddock in a move that was considered shocking at the time. If there was a welshman as chief executive we wouldn't even have had the pleasure of the 2005 Grand Slam. Then after failing so miserably to impress the WRU previously GJ gets the job after Ruddock left. You have to wonder what's going on in the minds of the WRU. GJ should never have been ofered this job, he said he wasn't even going to apply for it in the first place (oh the irony, but typically Welsh!). Warren Gatland SHOULD have been offered the job after Ruddock left. It was obvious the dressing room was dictating certain matters and that would have stopped immediately on Gatland's arrival. Plus we would have had a coach of the highest credentials 2 European Cups and Guinness Premiership titles plus he had international coaching experience, the current Irish side was essentially tutored by him.

SO WRU if you expect the WRU to sort this mess out don't hold your breath. They had since 1980, that is a solid 27 years of failure.

  • 84.
  • At 09:51 AM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Robert Evans wrote:

I think what was said on Scrum V last night was just about spot on. We do need to sort our game out from the bottom up, the standards of fitness are one starting point. Players who are coming from the regions should be in peak physical condition not having to be worked in the squad. One of the main reasons we do so badly in the Heineken Cup is because of game management, our players are far more talented than the English players but the English players know how to win big games.

We also need to stop making superstars of average players, if a player does a couple of big things he is suddenly a superstar. Gavin Henson is the perfect example he is a talented player but he kicked a conversion in the grand slam and he was a legend overnight, if you actually watch his performance over that grand slam he played well but it was not spectacular.

On a coaching level though we do seem to have gone backwards as our skill,fitness and mental levels have dropped, we need a change and to clear out some of the older players and start building now for 2011. There is a really good core of players available now and will only get better as we are starting to produce fitter and more developed players than before, we just need to tweak our development of these players and we will be on the right road. We need a high performance director ASAP we need discipline, I personally would like to see this bloke from the GB swimming team have the job

  • 85.
  • At 10:15 AM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Dai Bugler wrote:

We have to rid ourselves of all notions of a "Welsh Way" - it's a nonsense mask for amateurism and represents an unstructured game without the basic foundations.
Of course the players love it - it's undisciplined and the easy option, they don't do the graft.

It had surprising success in 2005 but is at best entertaining but losing rugby. Personally, I am sick of seeing us playing a losing role in the best game of the tournament and being targetted as a soft touch.

The "Welsh Way" has been sussed, let's bin it and start playing professional rugby.

The only possible silver lining would be a clean sweep by a top foreign coach, building towards RWC2011. Sadly I have no faith in the WRU getting BOTH the appointment or managerial support right.

Welsh rugby will stay on the roller coaster and the supporters will just have to learn to stop raising our expectations higher than 3rd in the 6N or the group stages of future World Cups.

  • 86.
  • At 10:40 AM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Pony wrote:

There is no glory in playing well and loosing. We need to be able to win ugly if that will work. Tactically we should have easilly been able to have ground out a win against Fiji. The Welsh scrum was massively dominant and should have been used to run the Fijians backwards until they conceded penalties. Wales are so wrapped up in playing expansive rugby they fail to see that this one dimensional game plan is easy for the good coaches to play tactics to beat us.

The structure of Welsh rugby shouldn't be the concern of the Welsh coach. He should concentrate on coaching the team he has. Maybe Jenks would be good to develop rugby at a lower/junior level but that wasnt what he was hired for.

There seems to be much talk of "Player Power" overruling the Coach. If this really is the case, then the coach just needs to grow some balls and hang the player out to dry. Deselect the player and tell the media why, the Welsh public will support you, no matter who the star player is.

Who next for the Welsh job? I don't think we need a southern hemisphere coach, southern hemisphere teams beat us not because they have better coaches, but because they have better players. Fitness coaching used to be an issue but isnt anymore, we know what is required on that front now? Wales is a country of 2.9 milloin coaches surely one of them must be some good. How about Paul Turner on the home front? If you want to get an outsider in, then my vote would go to Clive Woodward (a man who really understood how to win ugly, he found what worked for the team and won the WC using a simple formula). I dont think the Welsh public will go for Sir Clive but why not give him a run out as a caretaker and if he gets Wales to beat England in the Autum, it may well be amazing how the public warms to him.

  • 87.
  • At 10:44 AM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Rhys - Dubai wrote:

Agree with the comments about GJ and the Welsh players, although in all honesty I feel sorry for them as they, above all, would have wanted to make the QF's.

What some of the comments have correctly observed is that the constant in all of this, since the disgusting treatment of Ruddock, is David Pickering and his merry bunch of men. It is about time that he showed some decency and honour and stood down - although that is probably too much to expect.

Sir Tasker Watkins was a man of great integrity and proven courage, I would have thought time spent with him would have allowed some of that to rub off on the likes of David Pickering et al, obviously not, I for one would like to see the back of them as they hold the reigns of Welsh rugby and are ultimately responsible for the current situation. In any other 'business' they would have been shown the door. I believe this is what is required to enable Welsh rugby to gravitate to the heights we all wish it would be at.

  • 88.
  • At 11:08 AM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Paul wrote:

Perhaps it's time to look at Dai Pickering as well. He had very little to say at yesterday's press conference. Maybe the best way forward is to look at his impact within the management structure and why the WRU or some of it's senior officers seem to back players rather than managers(Pickering is mentioned in more than one of the rumour factory stories regarding Ruddocks departure).

  • 89.
  • At 11:24 AM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Tim Dyer wrote:

I am pleased that Wales have gone out of the tournament. Every year there is talk of playing rugby the "welsh way". Such expectation but little to show for it in result terms.
The players have let down the whole nation.
As a proud Englishman I am normally pleased when Wales lose as they are so arrogant and the one game they concentrate on winning is the Wales v England game in Cardiff.
Get over it and try and beat everyone by any means possible.
Got lots to change boys if you want to make it as a threat to the big boys.

  • 90.
  • At 11:35 AM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • martin wrote:

Oh my God! - I've just read Ieuan Evans espousing the virtue of returning to the development of players through the school system, where he said,

"Then there's the amateur and district levels. The Union, in its wisdom, took power away from the schools and gave it to the clubs.

"I think you have to go back to the schools - everyone goes to school, some deprived kids don't get the chance to go to clubs."

I have just witnessed the most brazen act of non-meritorious selection at English County level when, over the period of one week, my son was not only relegated but dismissed from a SELECTED squad of thirty when an additional seventeen players turned up for the squad DEVELOPMENT day. Those seventeen were - almost - entirely from the paying school sector where rugby heritage is bought and paid for by the affluent parent. My son is from a bog standard, non rugby playing, comprehensive school.

Fortunately for my son I am Welsh. He has previously been identified and has played for the Welsh Exiles and as a result has become part of the Newport-Gwent Dragons development regime. He hasn't played for them yet, maybe he never will, but at no point has he ever been asked what school he attends. He has always been told what short comings he has and what he should do to improve. The result is he feels valued and committed to improvement because he can look at the player holding down HIS position and know that he is there on merit.

Please God we don't go the English route where my son (along with many others) is now becoming totally disillusioned with Rugby because his Dad (me!) can't afford to send him to the right school.

  • 91.
  • At 11:36 AM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Phil wrote:

Far to much of this player power nonsense in my opinion.

That should have been put down ruthlessly after Ruddock went with Alfie never getting another cap being one of the main instigators.

A clean sweep of the squad and bring in new players who have pride in wearing the jersey and don't just do it for money and are prepared to be told what to do not do the telling.

They can't do it at club level so what on earth makes them think they should at national level.

Under 19's won 2 gand slams on the trot. Where are those players now?

Why are they not in the squad being blooded early like the Kiwis do.

Time for a clean sweep I think..

Out with the old and in with the new.

  • 92.
  • At 11:41 AM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Robken wrote:

I would drop 12 of the Welsh team including Gareth Thomas, bin Pickering and all the 'hangers on', have one rugby commisioner and then go cap in hand to Ruddock!

  • 93.
  • At 11:48 AM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • ieuan wrote:

the ONLY good thing about GJs regin is that he has introduced judo into players' training regimes - and supposedly throughout the regions. i'm confident that this will reap rewards in the long run, particularly for competing in the ruck area which we have suffered from not being able to do.
however, GJ did get the idea from a certain ex wales coach. if only the 2011 RWC wasn't in NZ, because otherwise i reckon graham henry would come back here for another crack (although hopefully for less money).

in response to what number 86 has said. wales could revert to the 'welsh way' by scrapping the regions & pulling out of international rugby all together. you instead have an internal game called 'Welsh Rules Rugby Union,' with a few rule changes and played internally in wales. okay, we'd lose the internationals which would of course be a real shame. but it brings back the club rivalry in league and cup competitions and become a game for the people of wales and wales are no longer just another team for the SH sides to hammer.

  • 94.
  • At 11:58 AM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Matty wrote:

Sean - you are far too kind on the man.

"Jenkins never able to put his stamp on the team" - how can you say that when you clearly spotted the trend from his Llanelli days? Conservative selection and tactics were a constant theme. Will James over Cockbain? Caps for sub standard players like Gavin Thomas and Matthew Rees? Completely his stamp.

Jenkins' tactics and his recruitment of an inexperienced unprofessional coaching staff did everything to take Wales backwards over nearly two years. He has allowed and encouraged a drinking culture to develop - I'm sure Ruddock wasn't doing that with Mumbles, let alone with Wales. There are some shop stewards in that squad, but it's the coaches job to manage the personalities in the team, not the other way around.

I don't accept that this is Wales' true level - we currently have one of our most talented groups of players for many years. A lack of professionalism and basic coaching nouse has undermined that, along with the arrogance of some players who should know better.

Coaches generally take far too much credit or blame in professional sport, but the verdict of the WRU is spot on in this (rare) case.

  • 95.
  • At 12:13 PM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Angharad wrote:

There we go. They have got what they wanted. I hope your happy! the so-called "Welsh Rugby Supporters" have torn Gareth Jenkins limb from limb and they should be ashamed of themselves.
I agree with Ieuan Evans. There are too many "big heads" in the Welsh team and they need to be put in their place and not question the coach or his methods.
Maybe we should have a tough coach who puts in proper discipline and doesn't try and please everyone INCLUDING the media.

  • 96.
  • At 12:18 PM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • daniel Jenkins wrote:

I too have a certain degree of sympathy for jenkins. with the wru making this coaching job the most feared in welsh rugby. We are not going to see any advance until we stick with one coach, and allow him to make any changes he needs.
chopping and changing is not going to get us anywhere. And the players too, need to start learning who is boss and remember what shirt they are putting on.

  • 97.
  • At 12:21 PM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Richard Owen wrote:

Having seen Scrum V on the web -all pundits seem to have a similar philosophy - get a new structure in place.But I have to say -player power/attitude/skill has got to be sorted if this is to work.
Gareth Jenkins,Graham Henry,Mike Ruddock,Sven Goran Erikson, John Toshack -are all successful coaches -yet when they have coached national teams from these shores everything goes to pot or mediocre.
Players need to look at themselves -the Grand Slam a couple of years ago was in the main down to good fortune and everything coming off -the players can't afford to rest on their laurels

  • 98.
  • At 12:23 PM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Mike wrote:

The biggest problem with Welsh rugby has always been the actual board, until they all go, How? Nobody knows, we will never get it right, far too many jobs for the boys. We need a board that runs the WRU like a business and knows what it is actually doing, not just sitting and having a free seat in the Millennium Stadium, take Mr Pickering for example, what does he actually bring to the set up, 23 caps as a player, 8 of those as Captain and he is the chosen one for the WRU & Millennium Stadium Plc, surely if we are going to have a past player in charge there must someone with better credentials than him out there

  • 99.
  • At 12:35 PM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Karl (NZ) wrote:

While I have some sympathy for the fans of Welsh rugby I can't help but take this opportunity to laugh in the face of the world's poorest rugby writer - Stephen Jones.

For 4 years we've had to listen to this misery guts poor scorn on the All Blacks for "peaking too early" and his belief that the free flowing style of the Super 14 doesn't translate into the international arena. Meanwhile his own countrymen peak in 2005 and are then found wanting in trying to play the same style of free flowing rugby making the current NZ style of play the benchmark of the world game.

The Welsh players may have been too full of themselves for their own good but this pales in comparison to the self-hyped, attention seeking drivel that spews from the pen of Stephen Jones, so please indulge me while I take his opportunity to say....

Stephen Jones.....HA HA.

  • 100.
  • At 12:36 PM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • ian furnham wrote:

there is never smoke without fire !
the rumours that have come out of the welsh camp the last few years just shows how un professional welsh rugby is . i have even seen things with my own eyes in cardiff city centre on a saturday night that would shame other pros in the world of rugby . we need to kick out the small village rugby club culture that is endemic in welsh rugby . from the top to the bottom welsh rugby needs a complete clear out until then we will continue to promise so much and deliver so little .

  • 101.
  • At 12:37 PM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Pat wrote:

I can't understand the politics in Welsh rugby.

Scour the World for a new coach. We had the best coaches in Graham Henry and Steve Hansen who are now 5/2 on to lift the Webb Ellis trophy! What did we do we shot ourselves in the foot and let them go!!

I have no sympathy for the WRU and I do wonder about the people at the top we make these decisions and as someone mentioned, when we fail there is a knee jerk reaction to blame the coaches.

When are we going to realise that when we compete at the top level we are just not good enough or strong enough.

I am a passionate Welsh rugby supporter but I do feel we are blinkered in our views of players and coaches. When all the rest of the world are improving we are going backwards.

  • 102.
  • At 12:43 PM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Mike wrote:

There used to be an saying for English Cricket in the 80s which was 'It's harder to get out the side than in it these days' well we have become the English Cricket side of the 80’s, far too many players being picked on what they have done in the past and not for what they are currently doing, players should be picked on merit and not on anything else!!! A good example I feel is Dwayne Peel, had a shocking game against Canada & the Aussie's, Phillips played for 53 minutes against Japan, was made man of the match but gets left out for Fiji, which the type of opposition and game plan the Fijians pose and the on form player, the game suited Phillips better, its not saying Dwayne should go as he is still a fantastic player, but it still calls out for pick those players that are on form and suit the occasion.

  • 103.
  • At 12:44 PM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • ceri wrote:

iv noticed alot of people's suggestion of reforming warriors, in my opinion the whole set-up of regional rugby just to make more money is a joke, rugby is not the same without the likes of a neath vs swansea match at the highest level or a ponty vs cardiff match at sardis rd, i beleive we need to go back 2 a 12 team league with just welsh teams involved, by playing against the english every season in the anglo-welsh or the scots n irish in the magners we are not really helping ourselves as these players become more familliar with our methods and therfore can defend against it when in a national match. bring back a league of only welsh teams.

on the coach situation, i wud love ruddock back but he would never come back after the treatment he recieved from the wru, yes the welsh fans never wanted him to leave but u cant go back 2 employers who conceded to player power. i think the next coach of wales if going dwn the welsh nationality route should be phil davies, since he took over 4 gj he has imrpoved them alot. he's shown his capabilities in english rugby aswell. i would get rid of all back room staff except for neil jenks, cos he's a kicking god, i wud replace mcbride with our best hooker through the 90's, Garin Jenkins and also bring in Jiffy in some sort of capacity. Lets hope we can move on from the shambles post grand slam.

CYMRU AM BYTH!!!

  • 104.
  • At 12:47 PM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Mike Lloyd wrote:

Scrum 5 pundits Ieun evans jonathan Davies blame WRU set up that same set up selected Mike Ruddoock who was successful GJ should have beeb sacked after 6 nations after all he took over a winning side.
Playing Hook at 12 against Fiji was a disaster all Jenkins major decisions were disasters his 1st was making Steven Jones captain he cost us game against Australia missed 2 easy kicks and dropped ball to give away a try cost us 13 points I can't wait for new coach to put Wales back to top 6 in world where we belong

  • 105.
  • At 12:51 PM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Nick Jarvie wrote:

I don't buy the '2005 miracle' angle... what many people forget is that in the year building up to 2005 6Ns, we narrowly lost to some of the better teams in 2004, then thrashed the Ba-Ba's in May 2004 (40 something nil, their heaviest defeat for 25 years!), we would have beaten NZ iin teh Autumn internationals were it not for the welsh disease of getting the clock wrong, narrowly lost to SA, then tucked England under our belts in the first 2005 game and we were away.
You don't fluke that. It only 'appeared' that Wales started winning in 2005, but actually there was a good, competetive build-up to 2005.
What ahs happened since is clear... Wales stopped looking like they loved playing the game (have you ever seen such a cheery, positive looking team since?). Ruddock-gate opened the floodgates to self-doubt, ill-feeling, adn a terrible bowing to public pressure. Who feels it most? THE PLAYERS! My god! Is it any wonder we're out. I really pity them. I really do. There is talent in abundance, look how we caught up against Fiji. Awesome, but sadly not enough. You know we outscored them in tries? Bet that gets missed.

  • 106.
  • At 12:52 PM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Arron Paddock wrote:

Lions led by a Donkey.

Stop the witch hunt and the excuses; just appoint a bloody good, no nonsense coach.

Jenkins said he wouldn't work with the current WRU administration and then did. Then he asked us to judge him on the world cup and I do!

Ieuan Evans press release is nonsense. He's just come out to support his old mate. He should go back to selling washing machines or whatever he does and stop clouding the issue. You are not helpful Ieuan!

  • 107.
  • At 12:56 PM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Gordon P wrote:

The damage was done long ago. Not ever being a fan of Llanelli or anything west of Neath Abbey and having met Gareth Jenkins on a few occsions, I would not be so cruel as to put the whole of the blame on him. If you look at our countries whole attitude to sport its still entrenched in the 70's. We have kids playing on 4" of mud in attrocious conditions throughout the winter. Academy players sat on their backsides week in week out. A Celtic competion with as much excitement as watching grass grow and a union with no-one in it with any experience of playing professional sport let alone professional rugby. There is no one answer to making it right, but a whole raft of changes which are required. There is no one person who can put it right but there are a load of expertise out there who could help. Whilst you could start with moving the kids season to the summer so they can play on warm sunny evenings and in good conditions.Make rugby clibs a welcome place for families. Ensure that all academy players are farmed out and made to play in at least the Premier division instead of being sat every saturday on their backsides. Make the top players wages more geared to results. Sit down and talk to the more succesful nations like they did with the likes of Ray Williams and Carwyn James. More importantly for the present take time out and get it right. For me personally I would make Martin Johnson an offer he couldn't refuse and let him have a free hand to bring in whomever he wanted. Perhaps also move to soccer type management with coaches assisting. Just some thoughts

  • 108.
  • At 12:58 PM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Steve Morris wrote:

Usual alarm bells were ringing loud and clear after the first half against Australia and the inadequacies were there for all to see against Fiji: tactics, game management call it what you will are woefully poor - and who knows if that is players or GJ? If Jones is a leader and a 'world class' ten then why could he not put the ball out into touch when we nosed ahead on Saturday, and put them on the back foot? How many lineouts were there in the whole game? From set piece we had them under the cosh. Kicking with ball in hand was terrible yet the tactics never changed. The notion of a 'Welsh Way' needs to be ruthlessly consigned to the dustbin of history; sure it's romantic but wistfully looking back to a glorious past does not win rugby matches. Who was it who said 'you have to earn the right to go wide'? England were written off two weeks ago and yet they progress because they showed how to beat the Islanders, it may not be pretty but they are still there and will make a game of it with Oz.

  • 109.
  • At 01:05 PM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Mat wrote:

Having just recovered from the disappointment of an early Welsh exit, I think we should all be relatively pleased with the result. Wales would have only exited one stage later and Gareth Jenkins would have probably held onto his job.

No one can really be surprised that Jenkins and the players weren’t up to the job. Our whole preparation coming into this WC was amateurish e.g playing our B/C Team against England

The coaching staff are merely a collection of old school welsh internationals who weren't very good on the field, so what qualifies them to coach the team in this new professional era.

Having wasted my money going to the aus game I was amazed to watch how each team warmed up for the game. Wales played a game of touch (the 'welsh way') whilst the ozzies spent the time knocking seven bells out of each other. Might go some way to explaining our slow starts.

Will keep my fingers crossed that this will be a key turning point for Welsh rugby but not overly optimistic.

  • 110.
  • At 01:08 PM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Stuart wrote:

Some of the people who are slating jenkins now are the ones that called for him getting the job.
He has had 18 months to get HIS team together that is not long enough.
His downfall was the statement 'judge me on the world cup', by that statement then he should go. Had he said 'I have only been here 18months and i am building towards the world cup in 2011' then i think he should have had that time to prove himself.
Watching scrum v was interesting some of our best ever players and long term stalwarts said it as they see it.
I do not know the way forward i wish i did.
But dont expect anything over the next two / three years but look forward to the next world cup, as long of course as we have managed to keep a coach in place that long.

  • 111.
  • At 01:30 PM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Saul Davies wrote:

Just like to say that I like the way we play and am kinda glad we don't grind out wins like Scotland! I know we'll never win the world cup like that (even NZ couldn't in 2003) but does anyone seriously think we will anyway? If we played the percentages all time I probably wouldn't watch. All the same, I'm glad to see the back of Jenkins, I think he's inept!

  • 112.
  • At 01:36 PM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • James wrote:

The Grand Slam of 2005 was a massive surprise to supporters of the other nations (I'm English) and during the course of it Wales played some magnificent rugby. The failure, apart from the ludicrous decision to get rid of Ruddock, was in not realising that the style of play had to evolve because the other teams wouldn't be caught unawares again. Unfortunately someone (the players? the coaching staff?) decided that this was the 'Welsh way' and they could just throw the ball around willy nilly and the tries would come, failing to understand that a solid platform is required in order to do that.
Having read a lot of anti-English sentiment on the various BBC blogs over the course of this tournament it was difficult not to smile slightly at the result against Fiji but I would much rather have a strong Northern Hemisphere dishing it out to NZ, Australia, SA etc. than the other way round. I wrote on a different blog that part of the problem may be the Magner's League - an absence of relegation and a lack of genuine competition for Heineken Cup places means that teams can play pretty rugby but don't learn how to dog out results when they have to. If the Welsh had been prepared to keep the ball tight, drive and wear down the Fiji pack then they would have won the game - trying to play a sevens style against Fiji of all people was daft and, unfortunately, got what it deserved.

  • 113.
  • At 01:48 PM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Becca wrote:

I am glad that Gareth Jenkins has had the boot I am so disappointed that Wales are out of the world cup BRING BACK MIKE RUDDOCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 114.
  • At 02:00 PM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Martin Husbands wrote:

When Mike Rudduck left under very odd circumstances there seemed to be little thought to the long term.Jenkins may well have been fully committed but never seemed to get the team al playing at top gear.
The WRFU now needs to look at all aspects of the game in Wales and recruit a strong manager and give him the surport needed to do the job.

  • 115.
  • At 02:19 PM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Paul Haley wrote:

Truly a sad occasion to see a team that showed much promise at the last World Cup, seemed to grow under Ruddock to achieve a Grand Slam, and with 2 years of development to get to this World Cup, just squander it all.

All the failings were there to see in the build up. Poor tactical kicking and game management - Australia warm up, which we threw away in the final minutes, being a clear example. Interception tries a constant feature, as players were unable to stop themselves completing training ground moves despite the wrong colour shirt being in the way.

I lost faith in Gareth Thomas's captaincy after his Scrum V appearance about Ruddockgate. And then he continued with his petty childish after-game interviews that hardly displayed professionalism. I would never have given him the 100th cap. Certainly not an exemplar for upcoming professional players.

Squad selection of players carrying injuries was just bad management. Ian Evans over Cockbain? Again, why have 3 hookers and 3 scrum-halves in the squad? If Ian Evans was crucial for the latter half of the Tournament, then I would have left out Cooper for Cockbain. Henson would have been in my squad just to sow that element of doubt in opposition minds and ensure they would cover him, freeing up space to move for others.

Where next? Well, we must return to building a pack of forwards with strength, guts and dog, plenty of dog. Let's be prepared to build a game where we can go to a 10 man game for significant periods, before letting the backs loose once defences have been worn down. I thought we were starting to head in this direction with Ruddock. We must go back to that style of game. We have 4 years to search for and build a bunch of dogs. It is achievable, but we will need to let some of the current squad go now.

  • 116.
  • At 02:30 PM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Erich Ludendorff wrote:

Lions led by a donkey.

  • 117.
  • At 02:31 PM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Hywel Davies, London wrote:

The problem doesn’t lie in structure.

Personally I think the regional system works – when teams are at full strength, the standard of rugby is far higher than before the system was put in place – and I also can't help to feel sorry for Gareth Jenkins when it's clear that the problem in Welsh rugby runs far deeper than just his position.

The problem is with the mentality and discipline of the individual players. Every Friday and Saturday night, whether you're in Cardiff or Swansea, you get the cream of Welsh rugby drinking them selves silly and generally milking their celebrity status. This was none the more prevalent than directly after the Australia game (during the World Cup!)

Individual players have far too much influence into how they train, how they play and generally how they represent Wales! This was non the more apparent than the debacle which followed Mike Ruddock’s resignation following the most successful period we had for years (amid rumours that players didn’t want to train in certain ways etc)

Being 100% Welsh born and breed, and as much as it hurts me to say, what’s needed is a more English and Clive Woodward approach to discipline and detail. If the current team doesn’t like such a control based approach to management then there’s enough players willing to fill their boots (they can b@gger off as far as I'm concerned!)

  • 118.
  • At 02:48 PM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • John L. Williams wrote:

Been singing this song for years. Young Welsh players have got to be shipped out to the southern hemisphere
for at least a season before they are considered for National duty.

I honestly believe they need to be exposed to a tougher environment as I believe they are coddled in Wales and paid far too much too early.

Please get them exposed!!

  • 119.
  • At 03:30 PM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Ryland Jones wrote:

Pickering you ARE the Weakest Link .. put your board down and do us all a favour
GET OUT
Welsh rugby will never advance with him as WRU Chairman

  • 120.
  • At 03:49 PM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • SavvyBoy wrote:

As an Englishman watching the Welshteam implode after your forced departure of Ruddock and I must say I have had a wry smile on my face. Let's be blunt, you allowed your players to dictate the team/tactics and overall the mentality of the squad. Not a good move having seen Alfie speak. The players genuinely believed it was all due to their fantastic rugby skills that they won matches (just like England soccer team - IDIOTS!).

From what I saw the Welsh rugby public backed the players and obviously believed the players were good enough as well - they are not! They are great players but they need a plan, "heads up "rugby is an excuse for poor execution of poor planning.

Believe me all is far from rosey in England (our club v country row is outrageous) and our skills are not world class, but to win the world cup you do not need to be the best team in the world - just the best team in the tournament (we are not that by the way). Winning matters, looking good whilst playing helps win fans, not games.

Someone will take the job (God help them) and time is with them now as they do not need to break these players as they will begin retiring very quickly- and so they should.

What a shame for a great team of great potential.

  • 121.
  • At 04:00 PM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • taffy wrote:

Gareth Jenkins should still be in charge of Wales, Progression in welsh rugby is not going to happen over night and certainly not in sixteen months. Penalties were missed, convertions were missed, but one man in the eye's of "the untouchables" was to blame. Problems are going to remain in welsh rugby until the supporters and fans can see wales as a team including the coach. I end my comment on saying how diguisting it is that GJ couldn't even fly home as the welsh coach but i give him my backing and sincere support as time was never there for him he needed at least four years to put his structure in place.

the issue is nothing to with Gareth Jenkins. The WRU is a joke-shop run by idiots in suits who listen to idiots like Gareth Thomas.
https://www.bloodandmud.com/2007/09/bye-bye-wales-d.html

  • 123.
  • At 05:24 PM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • lovespoon wrote:

The Scrum V panel debate last night BBC Wales succeeded in identifying the problems with Welsh Rugby. A lack of cohesion, focus and common purpose at and between all levels of the game in Wales. The WRU have failed to put in place proper structures to ensure 'talent' manifests itself on and off the field, be they players or coaching staff. Coaches should not be subjected to so called player power. The perpetrators of player discontent should be rooted out and dumped forthwith. Most importantly games are won and lost by a lack of game awareness. At one time Welsh players were described as mercurial, Welsh wizards or simply just plain crafty. To me that meant they could read a game well displaying total game awreness. That has patently been lacking in recent years demonstrated most clearly by ineffectual thumping of the ball into the hands of opponenets and stag rutting 'hard yards'in slow motion. Time to get back into the classroom for tactical awreness instruction from competent teachers.

  • 124.
  • At 06:22 PM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • David Mumby wrote:

A coach can be blamed for poor strategy and tactics but poor performance is down to the players. The Shane Williams 'dive' to score spoke volumes - arrogance and complacency.
The hasty sacking of the coach suggests an organisation looking for a scapegoat to deflect from it's role in this sad affair.When will Wales realise they are not and probably never will be a world power in rugby until they take a very honest look at themselves, we all live in a global village, not a Welsh village.

  • 125.
  • At 06:40 PM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Marianne wrote:

Welsh rugby won't improve under the helm of Roger Lewis that I can guarantee. He is a musician (not a particularly good one), knows nothing about rugby, and is brought into companies to sack people, save money and boost his own ego. End of. Goodness only knows who is contacts are for him to have got this job. That might sound like sour grapes and to an extent it is but look at his track record. He was brought into EMI - AFTER the success of Nigel Kennedy which according to his CV he was responsible for! Having failed to do anything significant there he went to Polygram - again AFTER all the significant albums and artists had been established. In fact his only claim to fame there was the album by the prostitute from Paddington who happened to pass grade 7 on the piano! And who knows about anything he achieved at Classic FM?

Sorry but Wales have no chance until these jumped up, egocentric, "boys together" sack themselves and get a Board in who don't have their own gameplan/career at the forefront of their aim. After all, nothing is very difficult if you don't have to do it yourself. And Lewis is extremely good at talking the talk.

Wake up the rest of you on the non-executive board and forget about the coach and the players until you get your own house in order.

Player power removed Mike Ruddock and Gareth Jenkins was appointed according to the WRU in difficult times but we just won the one and only six nation grand slam. The Wru have to resign as they are the only common factor in this and other failures. How many New Zealand players win 100 caps only because they have to compete for their places unlike the Welsh squad who i beleive are too complacent because they have the WRU by th throat. Clear them all out and start again.

  • 127.
  • At 07:11 PM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • S D Evs wrote:

I have to agree with the earlier comment re; David Pickering. He's too pre-occupied with his own self importance and his social skills are shocking. As for Roger Lewis he would appear to know as much about test rugby as Charlotte Church knows about arc welding, where do we get these people from? We still think we can win a game with a good no.10 and that includes the press corps. Wake up and realise that without a pack of hard, strong, fit forwards you can forget any success at all. The regions need a good kick up the rear also as they preparing these players for the next level, how many of them have reached the european cup final, none, why is this, not through the lack of money for players thats for sure. They are as complacent as the next tier up and the players are not working hard enough to improve.

  • 128.
  • At 07:24 PM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Saul wrote:

My opinion for what it's worth; why is everyone saying it was such a dreadful performance blah, blah, blah. If we had won then all you'd hear about would be what genius all the running rugby was and how we're going to win the world cup! OK so slight exageration maybe, but we didn't really play much different to how we always play really, sometimes we get away with it (2005) sometimes we don't! And yes we'll never win the world cup that way (even the ABs couldn't in 2003) but does anyone really think we'll win it any other way?

It'd be a real shame if we turned into Scotland or Italy and always played the percentages, grinding out wins against weak opposition and never beating anyone good. OK, prehaps if we had a decent outside half who could actually kick tactically now and again and maybe even get the ball through the blimmin' uprights it would help but unfortunately we don't at the moment, with any luck Hook will turn into one, we'll just have to wait and see. The boy is obviously very classy, not really his fault he was picked at centre opposite a guy the size of a house! He got a lot of flak after the Canada game, but in all honesty, apart from the second half against Canada Jones didn't exactly have a stormin' world cup either. Dropped catch against Oz, non-existant line-kicking and goal-kicking against Fiji, need I say more?

  • 129.
  • At 08:43 PM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • ieuan wrote:

i agree to part of what is said in 104. the regional system should go. It may have contributed to 2005 but so what. why not bring back the 10-12 team league. then from those clubs, the best players go into the district/regional teams who would play in the heniken cup. i believe that is a similar system that is adopted in NZ. this can then be used in combination with central contracts - although the WRU is still in debt.
otherwise GJ didnt do much right IMHO. am i the only one who thought that it should have been hook at 10 & jones at 12??? so many questions.

  • 130.
  • At 10:17 PM on 01 Oct 2007,
  • Chris Davies wrote:

Ieuan, it should have been Hook at ten and Stephen Jones having a pint in a bar in Llanelli.

We should have taken a recognised twelve to play at twelve. Not a square peg in a round hole. Whilst this is just one of Jenkins many failures it's the most obvious to me!

  • 131.
  • At 07:25 AM on 02 Oct 2007,
  • Martyn Coles wrote:

Just take a look at what Paul Turner is doing at Newport Gwent Dragon's, the players want to play for him becaues they are motivated, he could do the same for Wales, I would personally like to see him in the post of national coach, let's keep it Welsh and forget about the likes of Eddie Jones, we must have a coach that has the passion for Welsh rugby that can bring out the best of the players, I don't think Gareth Jenkins had that passion and his selections were not, to me, the best,where was Henson? I say keep it Welsh but select the right Welshman.

  • 132.
  • At 08:47 AM on 02 Oct 2007,
  • WELSHMUPPET wrote:

Yet again all the usual old has beens of Welsh rugby crawl out to criticise the WRU. I have not heard any critique of the Union up until now. If the coach has had his own staff and months of preparation with some of the best players in the world with some of the best facilities then where does structure and the union come into play?
Yes the union are wholly responsible for the game within Wales as far as development and structure are concerned but they cannot and should not pick the team!
My beef is with the appalling kicking tactics, poor breakdown and ball winning skills on the ground with an inept ability to think on the field. Too many times the team wants to throw the ball around when unnecessary. White line fever and greed cost us a game against a Fiji side with NO set piece ability. We should have mauled and rucked them off the park until the ball went to scrum and lineout and then anhialated them. You do not fight fire with fire! It was the only time that wales have dominated a pack since England last year! Evaluate the opposition and play the tactics as necessary? This was the downfall pre RWC against England was it not? "they played a game plan we just did not expect". Jenkins is tactically naive and had weak coaching staff. this is why we failed. What experience of coaching does Robin Mcbride have? Rowland Philips did well at semi-pro level but that is it.

Look beyond the media bs and you will see, we had our chance and were never playing the tactics that should have and could have been successful! Do not fall into the trap of believing the media rubbish about the WRU it is all in the coaching. Ask Tonga, Fiji, Georgia and the list goes on!

  • 133.
  • At 10:44 AM on 02 Oct 2007,
  • Steve McNair wrote:

How the Welsh do moan!
Do they really think that their players are world class?
If their players weren't so self important they might make the best of their talent. Having seen their attitude around the acrimonious departure of Mike Ruddock, particularly Gareth Thomas, it is difficult to see how anyone could manage that group of players!
Is it me, or has anyone else noticed how GT usually manages to leave the pitch whenever Wales are about to lose a game?
As a Scottish supporter, us who were written off by everybody at the start of the year, it made me smile when Welsh arrogance got shot in the foot by the magnificent Fijians!
And Scotland, unlike Ireland will not underestimate an extemely sound Argentinian team, and win or lose, I am certain they will give their opposition the respect they deserve.
It seems that none of the NH teams are a match for the SH's.
England..Ireland..Wales have all underperformed...could this be a coincidence? or maybe the rest of the World has moved on?

  • 134.
  • At 12:44 PM on 02 Oct 2007,
  • Nigrugthug wrote:

Like it or not, there was too much player power.

The sad thing is the players don't have the bottle to admit it !!!

Compare that to Martin Johnson and his admission about calling a player strike in 2000.


No bottle - no winning mentality.

Wales can only win when they play England - because that's the only time when sheer hatred gives them the bottle to win in the right way.

If only someone had the bottle to admit what actually did happen with Ruddock !!!!

  • 135.
  • At 12:53 PM on 02 Oct 2007,
  • Nigrugthug wrote:

Like it or not, there was too much player power.

The sad thing is the players don't have the bottle to admit it !!!

Compare that to Martin Johnson and his admission about calling a player strike in 2000.


No bottle - no winning mentality.

Wales can only win when they play England - because that's the only time when sheer hatred gives them the bottle to win in the right way.

If only someone had the bottle to admit what actually did happen with Ruddock !!!!

  • 136.
  • At 02:57 PM on 02 Oct 2007,
  • Sean Davies wrote:

Thanks for all the comments guys, I was off yesterday (after a LONG weekend!!) so didn't have the chance to respond. Obviously the issue's hugely emotive and it's going to run and run, but I think there's a fairly general consesnus that the problems in the Welsh game go way beyond Gareth Jenkins.

As I said in the article, I've never been Jenkins' biggest fan as a coach, but I feel that certain coverage of his reign in the media has been appalling - notably that nonsense story about how he supposedly slagged off the 1970s legends.

I thought that Jonathan Davies and Ieuan Evans on Scrum V on Sunday night were excellent on the deeper problems in the game - https://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/rugby_union/welsh/7021294.stm

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