Gatland extends Wales contract
October 18, 2010
New Zealander Warren Gatland has penned a new deal with Wales © Getty Images
Warren Gatland has agreed to continue on as Wales head coach up until the conclusion of the 2015 World Cup.
The New Zealander's contract had been set to expire after next year's tournament in his homeland and it was thought that he was keen on a return to the southern hemisphere. However, the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) confirmed on Monday that the former Wasps boss has decided to extend his stay.
"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," Gatland said.
"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 WRU, the national squad now has the means to deliver what the Welsh public want.
"We have a powerful agreement with our regions, the international player pathway structure is starting to pay dividends and the WRU National Centre of Excellence is a fantastic facility. Our best players are now developed within a totally professional structure and the backroom team we have in place boasts some of the best people around in their areas of expertise.
"I made no secret of the family reasons which have made me consider returning to the southern hemisphere, but it is a measure of how devoted I am to Wales that I want to stay.
"I want to personally thank the WRU and the Welsh rugby public for the fantastic support the national squad enjoys and I aim to return the compliment by devoting all my professional energy to the success of our national team in the years ahead. I am looking forward to the challenge and I am extremely proud of the honour I have in taking Wales into the next two Rugby World Cups."
WRU Group Chief Executive Roger Lewis was understandably thrilled at managing to persuade Gatland, who took over as Wales boss in December 2007, to continue in his role.
"By signing him for a further four years we have ensured that the systems in place will continue to develop for the future of the international game in Wales," he said.
"The process which led to this moment began in earnest more than a year ago and it has taken an incredible amount of hard work and negotiation to make sure we got this right for Wales and for Warren. We operate in an extremely hard nosed environment and there was never any doubt that we had to achieve a renegotiation which was workable, meaningful and ambitious in terms of our expectations. The board of the WRU voted unanimously in support of this recommendation.
"I have great respect for Warren and I know how he lives and breathes rugby and is totally devoted to achieving success for a nation he now calls home. He makes a lot of sacrifices to ensure he knows everything there is to know about the talent available to him and the other selectors and we can rest assured that the future of the Welsh team will now remain in safe hands."
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