Welsh Rugby
Johnson stunned by Gatland outburst
ESPNscrum Staff
May 31, 2011
Wales head coach Warren Gatland juggles the ball at training, Vale Complex, Cardiff, Wales, May 30, 2011
Wales coach Warren Gatland's comments have caused controversy ahead of the Barbarians clash © Getty Images

The Ospreys' Scott Johnson has hit back at Warren Gatland after the Wales coach bemoaned the poor working relationship between the Welsh region and the national team set-up.

Gatland admitted that the frosty links were the most disappointing thing about his tenure in charge of the Welsh national side, saying they were constantly banging heads in contrast to his relationship with the other Welsh regions. But Johnson, who will coach the Barbarians against Wales on the weekend, said he was mystified by Gatland's comments.

"I am astounded and absolutely flabbergasted by these remarks," Johnson told the Western Mail. "I would really like to know what is the basis of what he has said. If he has a problem with the Ospreys, or anyone in the organisation, he only has to pick up the phone and discuss it.

"I'm disappointed with what has been said because I don't think anybody would argue with the Ospreys contribution to the national cause or to the national side. We provided 40% of the players to the Wales squad for the 2011 Six Nations.

"Everybody at the Liberty Stadium is proud of our contribution to Wales and rightly so. It's important to us and what we are all about here. I would like to hear the other regions' opinions on the relationship they have with him? Didn't the Wales set-up threaten some kind of action against the Dragons recently and didn't they fall out with Scarlets over the injury to George North?

"He knows where we are and he clearly doesn't know or talk to his own staff who visit us nearly every week. We have a very good relationship with his staff in the Welsh set-up, but perhaps he isn't aware of how closely they work with the Ospreys during the year because he isn't here in Wales when they are. His kicking coach, physio and dietician are regularly with us, working, keeping in touch with and monitoring our players at the Ospreys."

Johnson, who was part of Wales' coaching team when they won the 2005 Six Nations Grand Slam, said that Gatland has only visited the Swansea-based region three times since he took charge at the Liberty Stadium in 2009.

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