Warren Gatland plans to lead Wales at the 2027 World Cup
Warren Gatland is to remain as Wales head coach and lead them to the 2027 World Cup.
Gatland placed his future in the hands of the Welsh Rugby Union following his side’s World Cup quarter-final defeat to Argentina on Saturday.
The 60-year-old New Zealander, pointing to a break-up clause in his contract, said: “If the union want to get rid of me, that’s up to them.”
But asked at a press conference on Wednesday whether he will stay through to the next World Cup in Australia, Gatland said: “Absolutely. That’s the plan.
“I had a joke with Nigel (Walker, interim WRU chief executive) before and said ‘You can’t get rid of me’.
“I think my contract said if we didn’t get out of the pool they had a clause that said they could get rid of me. I said: ‘If you do want to pay me off that’s up to you’. But I’m excited what we can do as a group.”
Gatland was joined at the press conference by Walker, the former Wales wing who has stood in as WRU interim CEO since the end of January and will become the executive director of rugby at the start of next year.
Walker said: “To be successful in international sport you have to have good coaches and good players.
“To be a good coach you need experience, miles on the clock, understand your craft, get your message across to players, and players have to trust you.
“You’ve seen the growth in the squad in a relatively small period of time and, like Warren, I’m really excited what the next four years can bring.
“We’ve got something to build on and we know we can grow the standard of the squad to an even greater level we saw over the last four or five weeks.”
Wales were written off by many before the World Cup after a difficult 12 months, which saw them suffer an embarrassing defeat to Georgia and head coach Wayne Pivac sacked in December.
Gatland, who coached Wales between 2007 and 2019, returned to oversee a Six Nations campaign that produced only one victory after the players had threatened to take strike action over contractual issues.
Ken Owens, captain in that campaign, described Wales as the “laughing stock” of world rugby, but Gatland believes Wales will move forward after topping their World Cup pool with wins over Australia, Fiji, Georgia and Portugal.
“We’ve got an opportunity to bring some youngsters in and build on the cycle to 2027 with players having 50, 60, 70 caps behind them,” said Gatland, who became the first coach in France to lead a team to four World Cup quarter-finals.
“There’s also an opportunity for us to build some closer relationships with the regions and some of the changes with coaches and personnel there, and that hasn’t always been the case in the past.
“Often those relationships have been quite fractured because of things that were going on between the regions and the unions, and we got dragged into it.”
Wales play the Barbarians in Cardiff on November 4 as a tribute to their former captain Alun Wyn Jones, who retired from international rugby in May.
Players based in France and England will not be selected as the game falls outside the international window.
Gatland confirmed five players – Dan Biggar, Gareth Davies, Josh Adams, Liam Williams and Louis Rees-Zammit – are injured and would have missed out on a World Cup semi-final against New Zealand this Friday had they beaten Argentina.
Biggar has retired from international rugby and played his last game for Wales, while Taulupe Faletau’s future will become clearer next year.
The 32-year-old British and Irish Lions number eight broke his arm against Georgia and missed the Argentina defeat.
Gatland said: “I spoke to Taulupe before he left France and said ‘get that arm fixed’. We’ll sit down then and talk about what he wants to do over the next few years in terms of playing.”
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