It had been reported in the UK that Jack Kendall, a 35-year-old lock turned tighthead, has successfully applied to become involved with the Portuguese national team ahead of their 2020 campaign which opens in February against Belgium.
Kendall was to team up with Patrice Lagisquet, the famed Bayonne Express, to take charge of the European minnows who qualified for the World Cup in 2007.
In reports, Kendall was quoted: “When I got the email (from Portugal) I was stunned. I honestly thought it was a wind-up. Then I had a letter through the posts and it was in black and white. I’m only a level two RFU coach and had to sit a test with the IRB in order to show them I am qualified to coach internationally.
“I lip read and very often say ‘what’, which does get on players’ nerves,” he continued, explaining how he copes with his deafness. I have had to learn to live with being deaf. I would not wear a hearing aid because being ginger, overweight and wearing glasses was more than enough ammo for my sisters to tease me with.”
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Reports also included a quote attributed to Lagisquet. “I wanted a young coach who would know how to coach a squad of players who are not full of natural talent but full of belief. He [Kendall] is unknown. But myself and the federation are happy with Jack and believe he will make the right choices.”
The revelation of Kendall’s appointment didn’t go down well with the Portuguese rugby authorities who issued a statement refuting that the Englishman was coming on board.
“The director of the Portuguese Rugby Federation was aware of a news report from an English newspaper referring to the hiring of an English coach named Jack Kendall by FPR,” read their statement.
On Sunday, The Rugby Paper carried a story that Jack Kendall, former England Deaf international, had been appointed joint coach of the Portuguese national team. It now turns out this was an elaborate hoax perpetrated by Jack’s cousin… (1/2)
— The Rugby Paper (@TheRugbyPaper) November 5, 2019
“Exercising a right of reply, the FPR deny that Mr Jack Kendall has ever been contacted for any professional activity at FPR. The senior coaching staff is led by Patrice Lasgisquet, who along with his deputies was presented to the media at a press conference last July. FPR reserves the right to take legal action against the person responsible for this untruthful news.”
It has since emerged that the false story was concocted by Kendall’s cousin.
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