Warren Gatland took no comfort from the fact it was his son Bryn who condemned the Chiefs to a dramatic last-gasp defeat on Super Rugby’s return.
Buoyant spectators at Forsyth Barr Stadium, where a capacity crowd of over 22,000 gathered after New Zealand lifted coronavirus restrictions, saw replacement full-back Bryn Gatland nail a 79th-minute drop goal to give the Highlanders a thrilling 28-27 victory.
The Chiefs had hit the front for the first time since the opening exchanges a minute earlier when Damian McKenzie split the posts, but Gatland was left to rue his side failing to make the most of two spells against 14 men and plenty of second-half territory.
For now at least, the proud father act is on hold.
“I’m not happy that we lost the game but well done to him,” Chiefs coach Gatland told reporters.
“I don’t care if he’s my son or not. I’ll go away and have a look at that but I’m still disappointed in the result.”
Bryn Gatland was a late addition to the Highlanders’ bench following an injury to Josh Ioane – information he was able to keep from his father until an awkward moment during a family dinner on Friday.
No way is Bryn Gatland giving his Dad any credit for tonight’s droppy.
— Super Rugby (@SuperRugbyNZ) June 13, 2020
“I found out on Thursday and then had dinner last night with him and Mum,” Bryn Gatland said.
“Halfway through dinner he got a text and he looked at me and said, ‘Are you on the bench tomorrow?’.
“I didn’t want to give the gameplan away!”
The pair then talked somewhat prophetically about how events might unfold.
Former Wales boss Gatland revealed: “We had a joke, and he said, ‘I’ve got a feeling I’m going to come on and kick the winning drop goal’.
“I’m not happy about the result, but he showed a bit of calmness there and he’s done that in the past and won games in clutch moments.
“Unfortunately we gave him that opportunity and in fairness he was able to step up to the plate and deliver for them.”
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