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Assistant coaches sign new Wales contracts

Wales assistant coaches Rob Howley and Robin McBryde have signed new deals with the Welsh Rugby Union that will incorporate the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

Attack coach Howley and forwards specialist McBryde have followed defence coach Shaun Edwards - he was re-contracted last December - in remaining part of Wales boss Warren Gatland's support staff, the WRU announced.

Gatland and his current coaching team, along with skills specialist and WRU employee Neil Jenkins, have masterminded World Cup semi-final and quarter-final appearances during the last two tournaments - together with three Six Nations titles and two Grand Slams - since being forged during the 2007-08 season.

"We sat down with Warren post-Rugby World Cup (2015) and conducted a review of the campaign and the team and looked ahead to the next four-year cycle and the 2019 tournament in Japan," WRU chief executive Martyn Phillips said.

"We concluded that this is a tight, ambitious coaching team, and one we believe will make us more competitive in 2019.

"We looked at the coaches as a team, and this is a team that works well together. It has trust.

"We have put together a four-year rugby strategy which is in its second year, and having continuity and stability at the helm is part of ensuring that strategy is delivered upon."

Former Wales captain and scrum-half Howley joined the international coaching set-up from Cardiff Blues eight years ago, while ex-Wales hooker McBryde began a Wales coaching role in 2006.

Howley said: "We have a fantastic group of players in Wales, not just those on tour with us in New Zealand at the moment, but at home with the Under-20s and coming through in the regions, and I am really looking forward to building towards Japan.

"We have a clear focus and strategy in place, and we will continue to work hard to give the players the very best opportunity to achieve their full potential."

And McBryde added: "Our current focus is of course, as always, on the next game, but we have a long-term objective and strategy, too.

"I think we all feel we have some unfinished business at the Rugby World Cup, and as Martyn Phillips has identified, a successful trip to Japan is the key over-reaching target for us all."

Wales conclude their three-Test tour of New Zealand by facing the All Blacks in Dunedin on Saturday, while the autumn schedule later this year features Cardiff appointments with Australia, Argentina, Japan and South Africa.

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