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Last Updated: Friday, 21 December 2007, 07:30 GMT
EPD role vital for Wales - Davies
Welsh rugby
Former Wales captain Jonathan Davies says that the appointment of an Elite Performance Director (EPD) remains crucial to the future of Welsh rugby.

"The Union has to pick someone with the respect to get results," said Davies.

After the World Cup the Welsh Rugby Union said that the job was the most important to be filled in the game.

But new coach Warren Gatland was selected before the EPD and former top target Andrew Hore has taken up a similar position at the Ospreys.

SCRUM V DEBATE ON 606
AO

"That's a good signing for the Ospreys, he will put everything in place," Davies told BBC Radio Wales' Scrum V on the Radio programme.

"It's a big region and a massive rugby area, Hore needs to tap into that to make the Ospreys even more successful. They have taken it upon themselves to get an EPD in place."

The WRU welcomed Hore's appointment at the Ospreys, describing it as a "bold step" which will "enrich the player talent base across Welsh rugby".

Group chief executive Roger Lewis said they had spoken to Hore at great length about accepting the EPD position with the national squad, but that "it didn't work out, for all the right reasons".

Lewis revealed in November that the WRU had a three-man list, but no progress has seemingly been made since then over an appointment.

Gatland needs a rugby man as EPD to discuss rugby issues

Phil Bennett

Davies says he is surprised that the WRU - who were thwarted in their bid for initial choice Kevin Bowring - have yet to appoint their EPD.

"I'd have made the appointment before I selected a coach, it's a big job and the new man should be in place by now," said Davies.

"Whoever gets the job has to have the respect within the WRU to be able to go knocking on their doors to force change and to get the resources needed - there's no-one there now with that respect.

"Physical conditioning and desire to succeed is not my main worry for the Welsh players now, it's about game awareness - and that goes back to the grassroots level."

Another former Wales captain, Phil Bennett, said that it is essential that a man with a rugby background gets the EPD role.

"At the moment [Wales coach] Warren Gatland is reporting to [WRU group chief executive] Roger Lewis," Bennett told Scrum V.

Andrew Hore with Chris Wyatt
The Ospreys are a forward-thinking region and Hore will be a big asset to them

Jonathan Davies

"Lewis has a key business role to play, but Gatland needs a rugby man as EPD to discuss rugby issues.

"The Union failed to get the man I wanted to see in place, Kevin Bowring. One name I've heard mentioned as being lined up for a key WRU job is Nigel Davies."

Jonathan Davies was critical of Hore when the New Zealander was mooted for the national EPD job back in October, saying that the former Wales conditioning boss did not have the background in rugby coaching.

But after fielding an angry phone call from Hore, Davies has reassessed his opinion.

"There were a few heated words, and it's true that Hore has been doing this type of work since his return to New Zealand," said Davies.

"He's been handling coach and player development across the country and they wanted him to stay on.

"But the Ospreys are a forward-thinking region, they've gone for him and brought him over. He will be a big asset."

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