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Wales chief excited by future

Roger Lewis believes Wales' World Cup heroes have launched "a golden era" for Welsh rugby with their eye-catching exploits in New Zealand.

Wales went within a whisker of reaching the World Cup final against New Zealand next Sunday, losing 9-8 to France despite having skipper Sam Warburton sent off and seeing prop Adam Jones depart injured inside the opening 20 minutes.

Welsh Rugby Union group chief executive Lewis said: "It truly is an exciting period. This is most probably the first golden era of Welsh rugby in the professional era. It has given us all a great deal of confidence, it has given us all a greater pride, it has given us a sense that we have such an exciting future ahead of us."

Wales now face Australia in Friday's bronze medal match, having spread a huge feelgood factor about the way they play the game and how it is underpinned by an exciting young generation of players like Warburton, George North, Toby Faletau and Dan Lydiate.

Coach Warren Gatland is under contract until 2015, while a deal was struck earlier this year with the players to 2016.

While Gatland's future with Wales appears long-term, though, defence coach Shaun Edwards' contract expires after the tournament and backs specialist Rob Howley has been strongly linked with a move to Aviva Premiership club Bath.

Edwards is currently head coach at Wasps, and Lewis said: "Any discussion about Shaun's future has to take place first with Wasps.

"There is no doubt he has been absolutely outstanding for Welsh rugby, and I am on record for saying that, but there is not a lot we can say until we have had that conversation with Wasps, out of respect for his position with them.

"They have always been his principal employer. Let's wait until this World Cup is over, and in the cold light of day we can consider the future."

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