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The Welsh Rugby Union have announced that they have signed up the remaining members of the national squad coaching team until after the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
The signings will ensure that Wales’ back room staff remains intact until beyond the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
Assistant coaches Rob Howley (attack) and Robin McBryde (forwards) follow Shaun Edwards (defence) – who was re-contracted in December – on new deals following a post RWC review which will see them through the next four-year cycle.
The incumbent coaching team, alongside skills specialist Neil Jenkins – a WRU employee – has guided Wales to a period of success which has included two Six Nations Grand Slams (‘08,’12) one Championship (‘13) and Rugby World Cup semi-final (‘11) and quarter-final (‘15) appearances, since it came together in 2007/8.
“We sat down with Warren post Rugby World Cup 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. We concluded that this is a tight, ambitious coaching team and one we believe will make us more competitive in 2019,” said WRU chief executive Martyn Phillips.
“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.
“The appointment of Geraint John to concentrate on elite performance and Ryan Jones’ to look after community rugby were our first major changes at the Welsh Rugby Union.
“Those appointments are all about investing in and bringing accountability to those areas and we will also make additional investments in rugby below the pro game to enable the long term health of the game.
“We are coming into year two of the strategy and we have plans around how we can freshen things up, but we are delighted to be able to confirm both Rob and Robin will now be with us until, at least, beyond the 2019 world Cup”
Howley joined the coaching team as assistant coach in January 2008 from Cardiff Blues. He was interim head coach as Wales lifted the 2013 RBS 6 Nations and has coaches both the 2009 and the winning 2013 British and Irish Lions.
McBryde’s tenure as forwards coach actually pre-dates Gatland’s reign – the 2005 Grand Slam winning hooker was called upon by then caretaker coach Scott Johnson during the 2006 Six Nations and then retained by his successor Gareth Jenkins, before Gatland re-appointed him.
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 U20s and coming through in the regions and I’m 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. We are a close knit management team and, with Martyn Phillips also doing everything in his power to enable success, we are confident that the right results will follow”
McBryde said: “We work alongside an incredibly dedicated and talented group of players and it is a privilege to be part of such a strong management team. 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 overreaching target for us all”
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