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Dublin: 8 °C Thursday 22 November, 2018

Wales confident of keeping Gatland despite Northampton links

Northampton Saints may be interested in Warren Gatland, but Wales expect him to stay until his contract expires after the 2019 World Cup.

Warren Gatland.
Warren Gatland.
Image: PA Wire/PA Images

THE WELSH RUGBY Union is confident Warren Gatland will honour the final two years of his contract despite attracting attention from Northampton Saints.

Gatland has already announced he will leave his role as Wales head coach after the 2019 World Cup, but the Saints have hinted they could try to tempt him away earlier.

The Premiership side, who are 10th in the table, sacked director of rugby Jim Mallinder last week after a decade in charge, and chairman Keith Barwell confirmed Gatland had been identified as a potential replacement.

However, WRU chief executive Martyn Phillips does not think the Saints will be able to turn Gatland’s head.

“I didn’t lose a beat if I’m honest,” he said. “He’s going to get linked with all sorts of jobs isn’t he, because he’s one of the top coaches in the world.

“When you come down to a list of who really are the proven top-class coaches, those that are will get talked about a lot.

“I would like to believe he will be here for the World Cup. It comes up [in conversation] a lot.

“He is one of the highest profile, most experienced coaches in the world and gets linked with quite a few things and I tend not to get to distracted by it.”

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