Six Nations 2015: Warren Gatland raises questions over Wales future

Departure of Welsh Rugby Union chief executive Roger Lewis in October could impact on the head coach's long-term tenure

The Sport Review staff
By The Sport Review staff
gatlandwales

Warren Gatland has raised questions over his future as Wales head coach following Roger Lewis’s pending departure as Welsh Rugby Union chief executive.

Lewis, 60, announced earlier this week that he will stand down after the conclusion of the Rugby World Cup in October after nine years in the role.

Professional sport is all about performance, it is all about results, and sometimes it is about other people making decisions for you.

Warren Gatland

The Kiwi coach, 51 was recruited from Wasps by Lewis in 2008 and has led Wales to three Six Nations championship titles, including two Grand Slams, as well as a fourth-place finish at the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.

He was also given permission by the Welsh Rugby Union to take a sabbatical in 2013 to coach the British and Irish Lions for their successful tour of Australia, where a Wales-dominated team secured a 2-1 series win.

Asked at his team announcement for Wales’ RBS 6 Nations match with France on Sunday whether Lewis’s decision impacts on his long-term future, Gatland was cryptic in his response.

“Yeah, it probably does,” he said, before refusing to elaborate further.

The search for Lewis’s successor has already begun, leaving doubts over whether his successor will be happy to honour Gatland’s new current contract that runs to through to the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

The Wales boss praised Lewis for his unwavering support towards the national during troubling times for Welsh rugby, which included a rift between the union and professional regions last year over the signing of a new participation agreement, as well as funding mechanisms for the club game.

“The relationship the national team has had with Roger in terms of the support he has given us since I have been here is outstanding,” Gatland added.

“There is no doubt we have got some of the best rugby facilities in the world.

“And when we have gone to Roger to ask for things for the team, whether it’s been staff or facilities, he’s been absolutely outstanding.”

Gatland also confirmed that he hopes to see out his current contract, but whether he continues to be the man to lead Wales for the next four years will depend on how Wales perform at this year’s Rugby World Cup, where they face a mammoth task to reach the knock-out stages after being drawn in a tough pool with hosts England, Australia, Fiji and Uruguay.

And he conceded that sometimes those decisions are made by other people.

“Often those decisions aren’t in your hands, are they?” he said.

“I have signed until 2019 and I have made my commitment to Welsh rugby for that. You hope that can continue.

“Professional sport is all about performance, it is all about results, and sometimes it is about other people making decisions for you.”

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