Leeds insist Davies will not switch to Wales

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The Independent Online

Post-World Cup England is all celebration, but in Wales speculation is the name of the game and yesterday that concerned the Leeds director of rugby, Phil Davies.

His name has been linked with the job of Wales coach following confirmation at the beginning of the week by Steve Hansen that he will see out his contract, which expires at the end of the 2004 Six Nations' Championship, and then return to New Zealand.

Davies' huge success at Headingley in guiding the Tykes from National Three to the top flight, turning them into a competitive and established Zurich Premiership club - and helping them to a place in the Heineken European Cup - has made him one of the favourites for the job.

But the Leeds chief executive, Gary Hetherington, was adamant last night that Davies, who signed a new four-year contract only at the beginning of the season would be staying put. Hetherington said: "Phil is extremely flattered to be linked with the Welsh job. However, he wants to finish the job he has started at Leeds."

As expected, the England flanker Richard Hill will start Saracens' Zurich Premiership game with Rotherham despite having featured in the World Cup final only eight days earlier. Hill and his England colleague Kyran Bracken were back in training yesterday, and the Saracens' coach, Rod Kafer, has confirmed that both are in his squad for Sunday.

Leicester yesterday completed the signing of South Africa's World Cup full-back Jaco van der Westhuyzen until the end of the season.

The Tigers have lacked a specialist No 15 since Tim Stimpson's recent departure for Perpignan, while Geordan Murphy has been ruled out for several months with a broken leg which he suffered during Ireland's World Cup warm-up with Scotland.