Warren Gatland's wife Trudy doubts injured husband's tour role

Warren Gatland may not be able to coach Wales on their forthcoming tour to Australia, his wife Trudy has told New Zealand newspaper the Waikato Times.external-link

The Wales coach must undergo surgery to reconstruct his right heel after a fall at their New Zealand holiday home.

Welsh Rugby Union bosses are hopeful Gatland will recover in time to guide Wales on the three-Test trip.

But Trudy Gatland said: "Warren will see closer to the time whether he can get to Australia or not."

If Gatland does not recover sufficiently ahead of the tour, which kicks off on 9 June, Robert Howley will step up from his assistant's role to take the reins.

Former Wales scrum-half Howley has already been tipped to act as Gatland's caretaker should the double-Grand Slam winning head coach become 2013 British and Irish Lions boss against Australia - Gatland is favourite for that role.

Gatland's wife is relieved her husband's Easter Monday accident was not worse.

Trudy Gatland, 48, also revealed he suffered the fall while cleaning windows ahead of a planned visit to their holiday home by a journalist.

She said: "A woman had wanted to feature our bach [New Zealand word for beachside holiday home] in a magazine and was coming that morning so we were getting things ready and Warren was doing the windows for me, which was very kind.

"I think we'll get the professional back in future. We should have done that in the first place, but it could have been much worse.

"Luckily he landed on his feet because he could have landed on his head.

"He landed falling backwards, so his heels took the impact and the calcaneus bone, that heel bone, is a really painful injury. He's being very brave but it is very painful.

"He's hopeful it won't be too long that he's off his feet but he is going to be in two casts initially.

"His left foot hopefully will mend quite quickly because it's just got one fracture on the heel, but the other one that needs the surgery has a lot more shattered pieces.

"The [Wales] coaches are just going to step up and do the job of getting the boys prepared for Australia, and then Warren will see closer to the time whether he can get to Australia or not."