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‘Irish d***head’: Warren Gatland reveals his troll's 'sinister' ongoing campaign

By Kim Ekin
Warren Gatland the Wales Head Coach during the players warm up ahead of the Six Nations Rugby match between Wales and Ireland at Principality Stadium on February 04, 2023 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Wales head coach Warren Gatland has revealed how he was the subjected to an ongoing trolling campaign as recent as this year’s Rugby World Cup after they acquired his real phone number.


In the wake of Owen Farrell’s decision to step down from international duty, Gatland shared empathy for Farrell and his family in his column penned for the Daily Telegraph.

He revealed that he has had an ongoing ordeal with an “Irish d***head” who is roughly the same age as the Kiwi head coach, with the Dublin-based troll sending him sarcastic and antagonising messages before and after big games for Wales.

“At first I thought the messages were just a joke from a mate. I had previously lived in Ireland, and it just came up as a message from an Irish number,” he wrote.

“Yet the messages kept coming, not many but about half a dozen times a year, usually if we had lost a game, attempting to make a sarcastic comment or jibe. It was then I realised it was not a joke, but something more sinister.

“To make sure I knew the messages were coming from the troll, I saved his number under the name ‘Irish d***head’.

“Then, during the Six Nations I received a message from the same number, but this time his name came up on his WhatsApp message profile. Perhaps he didn’t realise, or perhaps he just didn’t care.

“I looked him up on the internet and established that he appeared to be a managing director of some company in Dublin.”

It was when Gatland replied with the man’s real name that he thought the messages would stop but the troll recently sent him a text that read ‘Waltzing Matilda…’ before the World Cup pool game against Australia before Wales dispatched them 40-6.

The Kiwi head coach was left “unsettled” by the exchanges with an unknown person being able to contact him at any time.

His experience firmed his belief that “things have gone too far” on what is a “sad day for rugby” that a competitor like Owen Farrell won’t be playing next year’s Six Nations.






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Simon 226 days ago

Ah, Ireland, the most hated nation in world rugby. They must be proud to have taken over from England!!

Tristan 228 days ago

Gats, you could block the number….

Ace 228 days ago

It’s probably Naaigel

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Jon 1 hours ago
British & Irish Lions free agent open to Super Rugby switch

There are a couple of teams who could use a stop gap experienced head. Blues - I’m not sure the Blues have signed a replacement for Caleb Tangitau (if he hasn’t been let go to make room for Barrett) yet, or whether Reiko is going on sabbatical and/or will remain in the squad. With exciting young French player Xavi Taele looking destined for higher honors in black, talented breakthrough rookie Cory Evan’s, and a couple of utilities, in AJ Lam and Bryce Heem(even Clarke?), all trying to learn the midfield trade, Williams could be a great aid. The Blues signed key English center Joe Marchant before he was raised to that level, and were possibly in the hunt to bring back the dependable Tele’a from the Highlanders. Possible the main squeeze which would put to bed any signing here would be the battle at 10 with Beauden’s return, and the forcing of Plummer back into the midfield. Hurricanes - Jordie Barrett is off to Leinster for a sabbatical next year but the more likely signing would be Billy’s brother back in the team. The Hurricanes are light on the outside with the loss of Salesi Rayasi to the Top 14 and if no quality is found to back up Kini Naholo, the midfield of Sullivan or Proctors could find themselves on the wing and space for a leader to show the Hurricanes three All Black midfield hopefuls (Higgins, Proctor, Umaga-Jensen) how its done. Highlanders - Rotation is high as usual at the Highlanders and versatility remains a strength with a lot of the squad. With compatriot Rhys Patchell signing a move to the JRLO, the passing of outside back Connor Garden-Bachop, and confirmed departure of Argentine wing Martin Bogado, the versatility of many of the young backups in the squad could see a veteran 12 like Williams being a strong partner for the robust Tele’a. With hope that the other Umaga-Jensen brother can force him out of the starting lineup, and shifting the sides general Sam Gilbert back into 10, the off-contract midfielder might seen as the perfect option for a squad still looking to fill one back spot.

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