English Rugby
McCafferty bites back at Gatland
October 27, 2009
Mark McCafferty, Chief Executive of Premier Rugby pictured during the press conference held at Twickenham in Twickenham, England on November 15, 2007.
Mark McCafferty has been angered by Warren Gatland's attack on the Guinness Premiership © Getty Images

Premier Rugby chief executive Mark McCafferty has hit back at Warren Gatland after the Wales boss lambasted the quality of this season's Guinness Premiership.

Gatland only named one player in this squad for the upcoming November Tests and justified that by arguing that the English top flight was "at its weakest" since he first arrived in the northern hemisphere two decades ago.

However, McCafferty has dismissed Gatland's claim and suggested that the Kiwi's attack was motivated by the fact that Sale Sharks had refused to release scrum-half Dwayne Peel for Wales' clash with New Zealand on November 7, which falls outside the International Rugby Board-recognised release window.

"What's going on underneath is that Wales have organised an extra international themselves," he Premier Rugby chief told BBC Radio 5 Live. "They know full well they don't have the ability to call up players from outside of Wales on a compulsory basis so I think maybe there's a bit of feeling about that.

"It was a pretty cheap shot I thought. The fact is attendances are up 17% this year and one particular match - Saracens against Northampton at Wembley - saw more supporters there than in the entire Celtic League."

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