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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.

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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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Eabn 7 hours ago
Open-minded Schmidt takes hands-on approach to Australia challenge

Who cares - boring is good when it comes to Media - they don’t bug you as much. While the focus is on the resurrection of the Wallabies, don’t forget the grass roots - Any opportunity you have to visit, train or promote Rugby down here in Melbourne / Regional is pretty much imperative given the current situation with the Rebels. I’m talking about us grass roots clubs and more so, clubs in the West of Melbourne who are being absolutely smashed by Rugby League and who have been contributing directly to the game down here long before the Rebels emerged and no doubt will do so well after they may be gone. All I have heard is all about the elite level, not the grass roots level so while the talk is about “ The Wallabies” and “Super Rugby Pacific” get back to the roots of Union and include us in your plans. So Phil Waugh and those leaders within RugbyAustralia, it’s on you to ensure the bottom feeders, so to speak, are included in all the talk and the funding if you want Union to regain ground and more respect within the Union and also the broader sporting fraternity. Given you have been in Melbourne a number off times over the last month, extending the courtesy of having a meet and greet with Victorian grass root clubs eluded you for some reason. Do we count or matter in RA’s and yours bigger picture?? Ean Drummond - Club Founder/President - Wyndham City Rhinos RUFC Inc. Hoppers Crossing, Melbourne.

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