| 15°C Belfast

Gatland agrees new Wales deal


Warren Gatland

Warren Gatland

Warren Gatland

Warren Gatland will remain as Wales coach until after the 2015 World Cup after agreeing a four-year extension to his contract with the Welsh Rugby Union.

The New Zealander has been in charge of Wales since taking over from Gareth Jenkins following their dismal World Cup exit at the hands of Fiji in 2007.

Along with his assistants Shaun Edwards, Rob Howley, Neil Jenkins and Robin McBryde he oversaw an instant turnaround in fortunes by guiding the men in red to an RBS 6 Nations Grand Slam in his first season in charge, but Wales have struggled to build on that momentum in subsequent seasons, finishing fourth in the last two Six Nations.

There had been speculation that Gatland was set for a return to his native land after next year's World Cup in New Zealand, with many believing he would succeed Ian Foster at the Chiefs Super Rugby franchise.

But Gatland, who guided Wasps to three Premiership crowns and Heineken Cup success during his time with the London club, revealed in a TV interview last month that the relatively youthful nature of the Wales squad made him confident that they could launch a strong challenge at the 2015 World Cup in England.

Of the current squad only the likes of Shane Williams, Stephen Jones, Martyn Williams and Lee Byrne are set to step down by the time that tournament comes round.

And the news that the Kiwi, who has won 13 of his 28 games in charge and was also part of the coaching team on the Lions tour to South Africa in 2009, has committed his future to the Red Dragon will come as a major boost with a daunting autumn Test schedule against Australia, South Africa, Fiji and New Zealand to come next month, with Gatland set to name his squad for those engagements later today.

Gatland, who will overtake Clive Rowlands as Wales' longest-serving coach should he see out his new deal, said: "I am proud and delighted to have been chosen by the Welsh Rugby Union to take charge of the Wales team until the conclusion of the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

"I have chosen to stay in Wales because of my confidence in the players we have, the coaching structures we have developed and the succession plan of talent we now constantly update, all fully resourced and supported by the WRU. I know the other major rugby nations take us seriously as opponents who can play excellent rugby and that inspires me to help take this group of players even further.

"There is an incredible amount of hard work ahead but, with the continued backing of the Welsh Rugby Union, the national squad now has the means to deliver what the Welsh public want."

Rugby Round Up Newsletter

Exclusives and expert analysis from the sports team straight to your inbox

This field is required

Top Videos