Cooper row to rumble on

WRU to look into Gloucester selection of scrum-half

Last Updated: 17/11/08 12:07pm

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Cooper: Selection row

Cooper: Selection row

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Gloucester could face International Rugby Board sanctions after going against the wishes of the Welsh Rugby Union and including Gareth Cooper in their squad for the Guinness Premiership match at Saracens on Sunday.

The WRU had warned that Cooper could not play at Vicarage Road due to IRB regulations that say he should be with his country during the autumn international period.

Scrum-half Cooper was on the bench for Gloucester on Sunday and the WRU look like they will pursue the matter with the IRB, after the Premiership side went against their wishes.

Gloucester coach Dean Ryan remained defiant after the game and insisted that all parties knew of their decision beforehand, but the WRU look to be feeling differently.

Facts

"We are seeking to establish all the facts, and once that is done we will consider all the material issues and act accordingly," read a WRU statement after the Saracens game.

Before the match, the WRU had sent out a statement warning Gloucester not to include Cooper in their squad.

It read: "The Welsh Rugby Union can confirm that it has received confirmation from the International Rugby Board that the IRB regulation committee has ruled Wales scrum-half Gareth Cooper should remain with the WRU this weekend, and that the WRU need not release him back to his club Gloucester for the match against Saracens.

"The IRB confirmed that both the RFU (Rugby Football Union) and Gloucester have been informed of this ruling."

Issues

Cooper did not play against Canada on Friday but is expected to be involved against New Zealand on Saturday in Cardiff.

Wales coach Warren Gatland has had to deal with several political issues this autumn, with a row between the WRU and the Welsh regions sparking up before their opening game against South Africa.

Gatland also faces being without Cooper and Sale scrum-half Dwayne Peel for the final game of the autumn programme against Australia as they will be back playing for their club sides.

As the game falls outside the international window, both Sale and Gloucester can legitimately have first call on them for their Premiership games that same weekend.

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