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Last Updated: Monday, 29 October 2007, 08:20 GMT
Jones cautious over Wales search
The search for Gareth Jenkins' successor as Wales coach could be long
The search for Gareth Jenkins' successor as Wales coach could be long
Gwyn Jones has praised the Welsh Rugby Union for its ongoing search to find the next Wales coach but warned against being caught in a bidding war.

"It's good that they have established early contact with them (prospective candidates)," the former Wales captain told BBC Wales' Scrum V programme.

"But the most important thing is how much they are going to get paid.

"And lots of people are waiting on who New Zealand decide to have as their first and second coaches."

It is believed that New Zealanders Robbie Deans, Warren Gatland, Steve Hansen and Ian Foster have all been approached to take over the Wales job from the sacked Gareth Jenkins.

But Wales may have to wait until a successor to All Blacks coach Graham Henry, who has also coached Wales, is named.

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The Australia and South Africa jobs are also likely to be up for grabs soon, which would also complicate Wales' search for their own headman.

"It will probably all fall into place after that," Jones added. "I can't blame the Union for going off, but I think we were all a bit precipitant to think we were going to name the coach any time soon."

WRU group chief executive Roger Lewis, speaking after Sunday's AGM, said they were well-placed to recruit a new national coach.

"The passion, commitment and desire we've got for success in Wales, and also the financial machine that we've got for Welsh rugby, is recognised by the professionals in the game," Lewis said.

"That's what makes this position so attractive."

Whoever the WRU eventually decides to recruit, Jones says that the governing body must grit its teeth and introduce central contracts for the leading Welsh players.

"The most important thing the Union can do - and I'm not sure they can do it - is to centrally contract the game and get complete control of everything that happens in Wales," Jones said.

"We're a small enough country to do it, only England and France don't do it.

"If our goal is to get the national team to be the best rather than have regional success, then that's the route they've got to go down.

"For example, Jamie Roberts plays on the wing for Cardiff Blues and you can understand that (director of rugby) Dai Young has different priorities, his job is to make the Blues win.

"But if the whole thing came under central contracts - coaches as well as players - he wouldn't have that pressure.

"He would be aiming for the best for Wales rather than the best for the Blues and Roberts would be playing (his preferred position) full-back for the Blues now.

"But (Blues chairman) Peter Thomas has signed an expensive New Zealand full-back - Ben Blair - and you can be sure he's going to play.

"That's not in Wales' best interests, it's in the Blues' best interests and that's the conflict that we have."



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