Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

WRU boss expects to keep Gatland

Warren Gatland

Wales rugby boss Roger Lewis has warned off possible suitors of coach Warren Gatland following a stunning World Cup run that threatens to make the New Zealander a man in demand.

The Welsh are currently one win away from reaching their first World Cup final, with Gatland already tied in to a new four-year deal that will incorporate the 2015 competition hosted by England. And Lewis is convinced there is no way that Gatland, who has been linked with New Zealand, can be prised out of it.

"Having worked in the music business for so long, when stars break and you sell millions of records and generate hundreds of millions of pounds, you have got to make sure you have got a contract there that is watertight," he said."And we have got a watertight contract."

He added: "Even if anyone wanted to come and have a conversation with us, and I am not suggesting this at all, it would cost them a heck of a lot of money."

It was four years ago this week that Lewis first met with Gatland at Auckland Airport, their initial talks coming soon after Wales crashed out of the World Cup against Fiji, a defeat that resulted in Gatland's predecessor Gareth Jenkins losing his job.

"It all fell apart in Nantes, and I said immediately then that we had to stop and change," Lewis added.

"I got the backing of the (WRU) board to say we had to change, change radically and start searching around. We spoke with Jake White, we spoke to some coaches in England as well.

"And down here in New Zealand, I arranged to speak with Robbie Deans, Warren and Ian Foster. The All Blacks had played their World Cup quarter-final by this stage and lost to France.

"When I met Warren, and people didn't believe me at the time, I knew virtually in the first part of our conversation. I realised he would fit with us."

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