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Page last updated at 16:17 GMT, Wednesday, 22 October 2008 17:17 UK

Gatland 'passionate' on Wales job

Wales coach Warren Gatland
Gatland admitted that he had been left "despondent" by the row

Warren Gatland says he is committed to remaining as Wales coach until at least the end of the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

Earlier this week the Kiwi said he was considering his future due to the row between the Welsh Rugby Union and the four Welsh regions over player release.

But Gatland, who led Wales to the Grand Slam last season, says he momentarily let his frustration boil over.

"You sometimes think, 'Am I in the right position?'... but I'm passionate about being Wales coach," Gatland said.

"There are times when it's been tiring over the last number of weeks.

"When you feel there's no resolution, or you feel that people are knocking their heads together, I said I was a bit despondent.

"I was posed the question about that and when that happens you sometimes think, 'Am I in the right place?'.

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"Those are the negative feelings that you have, but I've logged my time in the last 12 months with Wales and I want to continue to stay on in the position and work together to take Welsh rugby forward."

Gatland was speaking on the day when he was confirmed as the forwards coach for next summer's Lions tour to South Africa.

Robin McBryde will become caretaker Wales coach for Wales' summer tour to play the USA and Canada, with Gatland off serving Ian McGeechan's needs against the Springboks.

Gatland, 45, is contracted to Wales until the end of the 2011 World Cup.

In a dramatic first 10 months in charge, the former Ireland and Wasps coach has picked Wales up from their 2007 World Cup calamity and led them to the 2008 Grand Slam.

On Tuesday he unveiled his 32-man squad for the autumn Tests, still not knowing when he can assemble his players ahead of facing world champions South Africa on 8 November.

Moffett returns with regions' new body

The Welsh regions are adamant that the players will not be released until after the final round of EDF Energy Cup pool games concluding on 2 November, with Gatland wanting them released 13 days before.

On Tuesday, the Blues, Dragons, Ospreys and Scarlets formed Regional Rugby Wales, which will try to improve the way the professional game in Wales is run.

It will aim to bridge the divide which has developed between the two sides, most recently over player release and the catch-all participation agreement.

"It has taken the gloss off, I have questioned my position," Gatland had said on the day the regions set up a new body headed by ex-WRU chief David Moffett.

"It's no good for anyone if you send out a team that gets well beaten because it is not prepared."

"I didn't think there was anything outside the existing participation agreement that I was asking for.

"Under the current agreement (between the regions and the WRU), it is 13 days (release) for the November Tests and 13 days for the Six Nations.

"I wasn't asking for anything extra in terms of training days. The relationship with the regions at the coalface is probably better than it has ever been, but this goes deeper than that.

"Unfortunately, the players and national management have been dragged into non-rugby issues.

I have been pretty despondent over the whole thing

Warren Gatland
"It is a huge year for the players, in terms of the autumn up against three of the best sides in the world, then the Six Nations and a Lions tour at the end of it.

"If I was some of the players, I would be a little bit concerned that a couple of poor performances in the autumn might have a bearing on the end of the season.

"I think everyone realises that five days' preparation going into an international match these days is not ideal.

"I have been pretty despondent over the whole thing, I've got to admit that.

"We had a meeting a couple of weeks ago when I said there was no winner here - we don't win, the regions don't win - and one of the (regional) chief executive officers replied, 'That's Welsh rugby for you'.

"I said, 'That's not good enough'. We need to sort this out, going forward, and make sure these problems are solved."


see also
Gatland accepts Lions appointment
22 Oct 08 |  Rugby Union
Wales' rugby coaches
29 Mar 06 |  Welsh
BBC Sport Wales coverage
23 Mar 08 |  Wales
Coming up next on Scrum V...
04 Sep 08 |  Welsh
Wales' rugby fixtures
26 Jun 07 |  Welsh
Magners Celtic League
11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union
Heineken Cup
11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union
Anglo-Welsh Cup
11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union


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