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'Best investment': Wales recruit ex-England out-half Stephen Myler

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Hidden in the small print of Wednesday’s important announcement that the WRU have awarded 17 new full-time contracts for female players for a six-month period to December 31 was the revelation that ex-England out-half Stephen Myler is coming on board as the Wales women’s team kicking coach.

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The soon-to-be 38-year-old Myler has been living in Wales since joining the Ospreys in 2020 and having committed to playing for the region in 2022/23 after agreeing to a one-year extension in May, he will now also provide coaching assistance to Ioan Cunningham’s World Cup-bound women’s squad in the months before they fly out for the tournament in New Zealand.

Announcing a raft of staff updates, a WRU statement read: “Louise Jones has joined the programme as a performance psychologist, Cara Jones has been appointed as an assistant physiotherapist and there are also additional coaching resources for the summer months. Ospreys out-half Stephen Myler will provide kicking expertise while Ben Flower will support the team’s work in the contact area.”

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Capped by England in 2013, the Premiership title-winning Myler reflected last December with RugbyPass on his popularity at the Ospreys and his ambition to branch out into coaching. “I keep hearing this and it’s interesting, it’s nice. It shows I have contributed since I got to the region and that is all my focus has been on really,” he said seven months ago about becoming such a popular Englishman in Wales.

“I’m considering the coaching route,” he added. “I’m hopefully going to do my badges, my level three badge this year, but when that is I don’t know yet. I couldn’t give you an accurate answer for what my immediate plans are next season or anything like that. I’m still in the process of getting information together. Hopefully, I will make a decision soon.”

That decision has now been reached, Myler deciding to continue his playing career at the Ospreys and also help coach the improving Wales women’s team that recently finished third in the Six Nations, winning two of its five matches. They have been drawn to open their World Cup campaign against Scotland on October 9 in Whangarei and the confirmation that the former England pick will provide training ground assistance has been warmly received.

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“One of the most exciting things, for me, about the Wales Women announcement is the appointment of Stephen Myler,” tweeted Jess Hayden of The Times, a former RugbyPass columnist “A kicking coach on a six-month contract is perhaps the best investment the WRU could make for the women’s game at this point. And it’s not just this game or today’s kickers – kicking has been the thorn in Wales’s game this (Six Nations) tournament.”

Her excitement was mirrored by rugby pundit Squidge. “On a personal note: Stephen fucking Myler is Wales’ new kicking coach. It’s the greatest day of my life,” he tweeted. “Their kicking was the one real undoing in the Six Nations – a kicking coach was hugely important, and to get everyone’s favourite unfussy northerner turned South Wales’ finest? Chef’s kiss.”

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