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Last Updated: Sunday, 7 October 2007, 12:46 GMT 13:46 UK
Wales chase All Blacks expertise
Chief executive Roger Lewis will head the WRU delegation
Chief executive Roger Lewis will head the WRU delegation
Welsh Rugby Union officials will travel to New Zealand next week in a bid to recruit the man who will replace the sacked Gareth Jenkins as Wales coach.

Former Ireland and Wasps coach Warren Gatland, in charge of NPC side Waikato, and Robbie Deans, the boss at Super 14 side the Crusaders, are two targets.

John Mitchell, once England assistant, ex-Wales boss Steve Hansen and South Africa coach Jake White are three more.

Graham Henry may even figure as he will be replaced as the All Blacks coach.

The New Zealand Rugby Union on Sunday confirmed that Henry would be replaced by the end of the year following the All Black's World Cup exit against France the day before.

WRU group chief executive Roger Lewis, chairman David Pickering and national board representative Gerald Davies are the three men who will try to entice one of these respected coaches to take the Wales reins.

Jenkins was sacked last week after defeat to Fiji saw Wales knocked out of the World Cup at the pool stage.

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The financial enticement to become the new Wales coach is expected to be a salary that will top the reported 250,000 a year that Henry received when he was in charge from 1998-2002.

That will be packaged in a four-year contract that will take the new man through to the end of the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand.

Henry's imminent departure from the New Zealand post, courtesy of the All Blacks' defeat to France in a thrilling quarter-final in Cardiff on Saturday, is likely to make the WRU's job even harder.

On one hand there is the possibility that Henry, who has also coached the British and Irish Lions, might consider reprising his role as Wales coach.

But a vacancy to coach the All Blacks is likely to see many of the WRU's targets in the frame to take over New Zealand.

Mitchell, the Kiwi in charge of Australian side Western Force, has already coached the All Blacks from 2001-2003 before losing his job when the All Blacks were knocked out of the 2003 World Cup by Australia in the semi-finals.

That would probably rule Mitchell out of a return to the New Zealand hot seat, but Gatland, Deans and Hansen are candidates.

Further muddying the waters is that Australia coach John Connolly has confirmed that he will step down from his post following their quarter-final loss to England on Saturday in Marseille.

White is coming to the end of his contract with the Springboks, although that is thought to run until after South Africa arrive in Cardiff to play Wales in a one-off Test on 24 November.

Jenkins' assistant with Wales, Nigel Davies, has been appointed caretaker coach for that match.

Eddie Jones, Nick Mallett and Mike Ruddock have ruled themselves out of contention for the Wales job.

One Kiwi that Wales do appear to have enticed is Andrew Hore, the former Wales fitness coach who is expected to be unveiled as the WRU's new Elite Performance Director next week.



SEE ALSO
All Blacks loss ends Henry reign
07 Oct 07 |  Rugby Union
Wales' rugby coaches
29 Mar 06 |  Welsh


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