Final member of coaching team commits to Wales

 

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The Independent Online

The Welsh Rugby Union have tied up all of their Grand Slam-winning coaching team to long-term contracts after forwards coach Robin McBryde signed a deal though to the 2015 World Cup.

Head coach Warren Gatland, the favourite to lead the 2013 British and Irish Lions tour to Australia, signed a contract through to 2015 in October 2010, and since Wales' march to the 2011 World Cup semi-finals backroom staff members Shaun Edwards, Rob Howley and Neil Jenkins have all been tied to long-term deals.

And McBryde, 41, has become the final piece in that jigsaw, having agreed his new deal just days after Wales completed a second Six Nations clean sweep under Gatland's direction.

Welsh Rugby Union chief executive Roger Lewis said: "I'm pleased to say we've successfully concluded discussions with Robin and he will now remain with us at least until after the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

"I was determined to deliver the coaching team Warren Gatland wants and Robin is part of that first choice group. We now have complete stability in the senior squad coaching team and so there is real and meaningful continuity ahead."

McBryde, who won 37 caps for Wales at hooker during his playing career, joined the national set-up under Gareth Jenkins in 2006 and was retained when Gatland took over following the first-round exit at the 2007 World Cup.

He took over as caretaker head coach for the 2009 tour of North America when Gatland, Edwards and Howley were away with the Lions in South Africa.

McBryde could yet be asked to reprise that role should Gatland be offered the chance to lead the Lions in Australia next year.

The Lions want their head coach to be available to them for a 12-month period prior to the tour, and the WRU have already said they would be prepared for Gatland to miss the 2013 Six Nations as part of any potential Lions responsibilities.

McBryde said: "I am delighted to be staying in Wales to continue to build on the important achievements of the past few years.

"It is a great coaching environment in which to operate and I know that as a unit under Warren's guidance we are ready to savour all the challenges which lie ahead.

"I am a very proud Welshman so it is particularly important to me that I can now help build our squad towards their involvement in the next Rugby World Cup."

Having won a third Grand Slam in eight seasons with last weekend's win over France in Cardiff, Wales' next major challenge will be their three-Test summer tour to Australia.

But they will have to wait and see if captain Sam Warburton will make the trip after the injury-hit flanker revealed he is preparing to see a specialist over the shoulder injury he suffered against the French.

PA

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