Rugby Union Wales to look afar for coach

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The Independent Online
Rugby Union

Wales may be in the hands of a caretaker coach when they meet the world champions, South Africa, in Johannesburg on 2 September, but the long term search could go outside the country if the International Board give their blessing to paid coaches at their meeting in Paris next month.

"I expect us to look beyond Wales, if only to evaluate all the options," Vernon Pugh, the Welsh chairman, said after the WRU's annual meeting in Port Talbot on Saturday.

"The view is that we should not rush into this issue, the appointment should be one we are totally confident in to fill the role for at least two years.

"If the IB permit coaches to be paid, the certainty is that all the other leading countries will have paid coaches and we would be putting ourselves at a disadvantage if we didn't follow suit."

The Australian Alex Evans, who stepped in at short notice to take Wales to the World Cup, remains very much in the frame for the coaching duties on a more permanent basis.

But the international careers of several players could have perished in South Africa during the defeats by New Zealand and Ireland. "I would like to think that the make-up of the team to play South Africa in just two months time reflects players who will still be challenging when we host the 1999 World Cup," Pugh said.

However, the humiliations of a Five Nations' Championship whitewash and the early World Cup exit did not attract a single angry or anguished voice among delegates representing the 200-plus clubs.