Wales coach Gatland injured after falling from ladder at New Zealand beach home
06:36 GMT, 12 April 2012
Fall: Gatland has suffered multiple fractures
Wales's Grand Slam-winning coach Warren Gatland has suffered multiple fractures to both his heels after a fall at his New Zealand beach home.
The Lions coach-elect, who presided over a second Welsh Slam in five seasons this spring, was cleaning windows when he fell 10 feet from a ladder.
He is currently in leg casts before having an operation. Rob Howley has been placed on standby to take temporary charge of Wales in the lead-up to the June tour of Australia.
While the WRU remain confident Gatland, 48, will be fit to lead the tour party, he and union chief executive Roger Lewis have agreed that Howley be put forward to the board as a caretaker in case his recovery takes longer than expected.
For now, Howley and the other assistant coaches – Shaun Edwards, Robin McBryde and Neil Jenkins – will keep in contact with Gatland about player form and fitness.
Wales face the Barbarians in Cardiff on June 2 before flying to Australia for their three-Test tour.
Lewis said: 'We all wish Warren a speedy recovery from the injuries he has suffered in this extremely unfortunate accident.
'Knowing Warren as I do I can reassure the Welsh rugby public that he has diligently put the people and processes in place to ensure he stays closely linked to what is happening in the game back in Wales.
'I have spoken to Warren on a number of occasions since his fall and have told him he will lead the tour to Australia unless anything unforeseen happens in the prognosis for recovery we are working to.'