Reprieve for Wales coach

2011-02-08 15:25

London - Under-pressure Wales coach Warren Gatland received a vote of confidence from his employers on Tuesday as they insisted sacking the New Zealander was the furthest thing from their minds.

"This is a time for cool heads and certainly not to chop heads," the chief executive of the Welsh Rugby Union, Roger Lewis, told the Daily Telegraph.

Wales head to Edinburgh for a second round Six Nations match against Scotland on Saturday on a run of eight games without a win - a sequence that continued with a 26-19 loss to England in their Championship opener at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium last week.

In November, during the middle of a trough which dates back to last season, the WRU chose to give Gatland a four-year contract extension rather than wait until after this year's World Cup in New Zealand before making a decision on the former Ireland and Wasps boss's future.

Whether the WRU could now afford to sack Gatland, even if they wanted to, remains an open question but Lewis was adamant the Kiwi was still the man for the job in pure rugby terms.

"At the top of the WRU we believe we have the right people in place with the right skills and experiences," Lewis said.

"Our coaching team know what is required to win Grand Slams and European Cups as well as how to face defeat.

"To gain respect we first need self-respect, and to do that we all need to take responsibility.

"No one is making excuses, it is up to all of us in the WRU to front up to this together and move forward."

Gatland became Wales coach in 2007 and his first game in charge, in 2008, saw Wales win at Twickenham for the first time since 1988.

That victory was the first leg of a Six Nations 'grand slam' that came just months after Wales had failed to reach the quarter-finals of the World Cup under Gatland's sacked predecessor Gareth Jenkins.