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'I will probably be hanged in Wales for saying this' - Warburton's Gatland call

By Ian Cameron
Sam Warburton with new Wales coach Wayne Pivac. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Former British & Irish Lions captain Sam Warburton has tipped Warren Gatland as the perfect choice to take over the England head coach role should Eddie Jones be sacked this coming week.

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Jones is facing an RFU review following a dire Autumn Nation Series showing by England in which the Aussie battler’s side claimed one win, a draw and two losses.

Back in Wales, head coach Wayne Pivac faces the a similar review after an even worse November display from the men in red, which they managed just a single win against Argentina and suffered the humiliation of a home defeat to Tier 2 heavyweights Georgia.

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If reports are accurate, both appear to be odds on to lose their jobs.

However, Warburton, who was coached for his entire Test career by Gatland, believes the former Wales head honcho would be better placed coaching the English to the Rugby World Cup, a minority view in Wales where many fancy the Waikato Chiefs director of rugby to save the day for the Welsh.

“The only people who will know the real story will be the ones in that camp, but if England do decide to change their head coach, I know one thing for certain: Warren Gatland would be a perfect fit,” he wrote in his Times column. “I will probably be hanged in Wales for saying this, because many want him there to replace Wayne Pivac, but it just makes so much sense.

“Warren is a proven international coach. He has a fantastic relationship with Owen Farrell and many other England players from the British & Irish Lions tours. I certainly know how much he rates Owen as a player and competitor.

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“And England suit Warren’s game plan down to the ground. That plan is about physical dominance, middle third of the field game management, kick chase and relentless line speed in defence, as well as ferocious breakdown competition. England have got the players to do all that in buckets.”

Reports from the English press have suggested that Steve Borthwick is the front-runner to replace Jones; while Gatland and Steve Tandy have been linked to any potential vacancy in the Wales coaching ticket.

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