RWC 2015: Wales deny breaking the rules by using non-squad players at training

Rob Evans, Nicky Smith and Rhys Patchell were among those used during an open training session

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The Independent Online

Warren Gatland, the Wales coach, has rejected accusations they have broken World Cup rules and laughed off suggestions he was acting against the spirit of the game.

Wales used a number of players outside of their squad, among them Rob Evans, Nicky Smith and Rhys Patchell, during an open session training at their Sunbury base on Wednesday ahead of Saturday's match against England. It led to them being censured by World Rugby but Gatland dismissed the governing body’s response.

“We haven’t broken any rules,” he said. “Apparently, from the statement from World Rugby, we have broken the spirit of the rules. What that means, I don’t know.

“Look, we didn’t do anything that we thought was out of hand. We brought some players in for training for a little bit of defence work, so I don’t know what we’ve done wrong. Apparently, it’s breaching the spirit but what does that mean? Either you’ve got rules or you haven’t got rules. What’s the spirit of the rules?”

Gatland said the disagreement had been over rule 6.6.8 in their Rugby World Cup participation agreement but remained adamant he, his coaching staff and players had done nothing wrong.

Tournament officials held a different view over Wales bringing in members outside of their squad for training, although opted to take no further action bar issuing a warning. A statement from World Rugby said: “While World Rugby is satisfied that no deliberate breach was intended, an official warning has been issued to the WRU [Welsh Rugby Union] and participating teams have been informed that additional players from the extended squad, including potential injury replacements, may not be included in any training sessions.”