Did Warren Gatland see the storm clouds gathering for Welsh rugby again in 2019? A re-read of remarks made by the nation’s biggest ever head coach on eve of the Barbarians versus Wales recreation the month after they returned from Japan makes for weirdly prophetic studying in 2022.

Since his departure after that Rugby World Cup, the place Wales completed a greater than respectable fourth, the trajectory has been resolutely downward for Welsh rugby.

A Six Nations title in 2021 papered over the cracks for Wayne Pivac’s facet, but when any Welsh rugby fan was left with any residual optimism then a impolite awakening within the type of a fifth-place end in the identical match and a humiliating house loss to Italy can have disabused them of it.

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Doom-mongers and perennial critics of the WRU at the moment are sharpening their knives in what appears to have turn out to be a perpetual, moveable feast for these bemoaning the game’s downfall in a rustic as soon as besotted with the 15-man code.

If something, it’s been worse away from the Take a look at enviornment. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say the areas have endured a season from hell, each within the URC and in Europe, whereas inside harassment allegations have rocked the union in current weeks.

Even from a impartial perspective, it’s been a painful course of to look at play out.

Welsh nice Jonathan Davies informed RugbyPass in February that he feared Wales’ decline wanted to be arrested in the event that they didn’t desire a repeat of the Nineties.

But whereas the issues could also be manifesting most visibly at Take a look at stage, there’s a widespread understanding that the problems are usually not only a case of a dip in kind for the nationwide group; it’s a malaise rooted deep within the structural failings of the Welsh system.

And it may be that Gatland noticed it coming.

With the good thing about hindsight, it’s onerous to not learn New Zealander’s November 2019 feedback phrases as that of a person genuinely fearful for the way forward for the facet he had guided to outstanding success for over a decade.

“I actually hope for what we’ve achieved within the final 10-12 years, and we really feel we’ve earned respect and put respect again into Wales as a world group, that the brand new coaches coming in proceed to construct on that,” Gatland mentioned. “As a result of what now we have executed, what now we have achieved, it might break my coronary heart if Wales went again into the doldrums.

“I simply need them to proceed. There’s a possibility for the brand new group to come back in and construct on what we’ve created and to enhance on it.

“It’s to not be too grasping on profitable the Six Nations yearly, however going on the market and performing properly within the Six Nations. And to proceed to hopefully get a number of Six Nations titles over the way in which and ensure we’re as aggressive as we will presumably be towards the opposite prime nations.

“We really feel now we have executed that, and I actually need Wales to proceed to construct on that. I wish to see these boys be as profitable as they presumably can.”

Sadly, that’s not the way it’s panning out.

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