‘If you don’t want to be Welsh, p*** off’ – Warren Gatland causes a stir with Immanuel Feyi-Waboso comments

Colin Newboult
Immanuel Feyi-Waboso making his debut for England in the 2024 Six Nations.

Immanuel Feyi-Waboso making his debut for England in the 2024 Six Nations.

Wales head coach Warren Gatland says that any unpatriotic Welshmen can “p*** off” after Immanuel Feyi-Waboso defected to England.

The wing was Welsh born and raised, but is also English-qualified and eligible for the Red Rose due to playing for Exeter Chiefs.

Feyi-Waboso was part of the Cardiff academy but was unable to continue his medical studies in Wales and therefore moved to the Premiership, signing with Wasps.

After the demise of the Midlanders he joined Exeter and has impressed this season, grabbing the attention of Steve Borthwick.

Neil Jenkins’ comments

The head coach convinced him to choose England which, according to Gatland, prompted an expletive-laden response from coach Neil Jenkins.

“The best reaction I had was when I told Neil Jenkins about Feyi-Waboso’s decision, and he was, shall we say, very vociferous in terms of his response,” the Wales boss wrote in his Telegraph column in January.

“I can’t use the language that he used but it was basically along the lines of: ‘He was born in Cardiff and if he doesn’t want to play for Wales, then he can b****r off’.

“It made me laugh. That’s what makes Wales so special, how proud they are to be Welsh.”

Gatland was therefore asked about Feyi-Waboso ahead of their Six Nations clash with England and also the reaction of Jenkins.

“We haven’t even spoken about him. He’s made his decision so good luck to him. There’s been no mention of his name whatsoever,” he said.

“Jenks has made that comment in jest to me in the room. I said: ‘he’s made a decision to play for England,’ and Jenks being the ultra-proud Welshman as he is, kind of said… ‘if he doesn’t want to play for Wales then b****r him’.

“I love that, it’s just showing how proud you are to be Welsh. If you don’t want to be Welsh then p*** off.”

On the bench

Feyi-Waboso made his debut in the final few minutes of the Red Rose’s opening Six Nations victory over Italy last weekend.

The speedster has once again been named on the bench and could feature against the country of his birth on Saturday.

“No, it doesn’t add any extra spice. None of our tactics have mentioned his name or anything,” Gatland added.

“There are a lot of players from both countries who are dual-qualified. Good luck to him. I hope things go well for him.

“I think it is two teams going through similar transitions in terms of the squad. It is a great game, it is the tradition and the history of it.

“From my experience, seeing the players interact afterwards and seeing players on Lions tours, everyone talks about hating the English, but I have always seen just how close the Welsh and English players get on.

“That is something I am looking forward to, the respect I have, too. I had a great four years in London (with Wasps) – I loved my time there and coached some great players. I go there really looking forward to the challenge.”

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