sport

Gatland agrees new Wales deal

Wales head coach Warren Gatland has signed a new contract until after the 2019 World Cup, the Welsh Rugby Union has announced.

It is the second extension that the WRU have agreed with the New Zealander who was originally appointed as head coach in 2007.

He signed an extension in 2010 until after the 2015 Rugby World Cup. This second renewal ensures Gatland will be the first coach to take Wales to three World Cup competitions.

Gatland said: "I am proud and delighted to have been chosen by the Welsh Rugby Union to take charge of Wales teams for the next two Rugby World Cup

tournaments.

"I have chosen to stay in Wales because of my confidence in the players we have, the coaching structures we have developed and the succession plan of talent we now constantly update."

Gatland guided Wales to the Grand Slam in 2008 after his appointment in 2007, a feat he repeated last year, after leading Wales to the World Cup semi-finals in 2012.

Should he see out the new deal, it will take Gatland's Wales tenure to 12 years - a record stint in the role in the history of the Wales national side.

The 50-year-old has been touted as the front-runner to coach the British and Irish Lions for a second time in 2017.

The WRU would have to grant him a sabbatical as it did for the Lions' victorious tour of Australia this year.

WRU chief executive Roger Lewis added: "He has undoubtedly proved that he has the rugby expertise, the passion and the commitment to prepare and inspire our teams to play with the utmost skill and pride.

"We now have a meticulous and professional coaching structure in place which Warren must take credit for creating.

"By signing him for a further four years we have ensured that the systems now in place will continue to develop for the future of the international game in Wales."