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Gatland tackles speculation on future

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Gatland responds to England and Lions links and slams Wales' loss of McBryde to 'closest rivals'

Warren Gatland has touched on his future during his media conference to announce the 42-strong squad he wants to prepare for the 2019 World Cup. 

The long-serving Wales coach, who has been in charge since 2008, is stepping down at the helm at the conclusion of the finals in Japan and where he might coach next has been the subject of much speculation. 

“I’ve had quite a number of approaches from different places,” he said at the conference in a report published by walesonline.com.

“It’s a matter of making the right decision at the right time. But my whole focus is about the next seven months and Wales and the World Cup. I’m not too worried about whether I have a job or not afterwards. I’m a great believer in what will be will be.”

Gatland was asked about two particular issues, the rumoured links with the England job and the media claim that he has already agreed to coach the 2021 Lions on their trip to South Africa.

“I haven’t spoken to England at all,” he said, adding in relation to the Lions: “This is not about the Lions, this is about Wales. I’m not going to speak about that.”

Gatland’s long-planned departure from Wales has resulted in fellow Kiwi Wayne Pivac being installed as his successor for the 2020 Six Nations and his appointment had had a trickle down effect on Gatland’s long-long-serving assistants. 

Forwards coach Robin McBryde has this week bagged himself a job with Leinster, while there is no confirmation yet on whether defence coach Shaun Edwards will take up an offer to remain on under Pivac as he is now being reportedly courted by the French national team.  

“It’s fantastic for him, it’s a great opportunity,’ said Gatland about McBryde. “It’s disappointing because he’s got 13 years of IP [intellectual property] that’s left Wales and gone over to our closest rivals. 

“They have access to all that knowledge that he’s gained. Knowledge of players, game plans, structures. From that point of view, it’s disappointing. But it’s great for him. He’s been a great servant for Wales and I have a huge amount of respect for him and his integrity.”

Regarding Edwards, Gatland said: “The union have offered Shaun Edwards a contract. It’s up to him whether he accepts it or not. That’s been in place for a while now and he’s had conversations with Wanye Pivac.

“There’s a contract on the table and it’s up to him whether he accepts it or not. I understand there are other opportunities for him. But it’s no different from conversations I’ve had with players and coaches, they have to make the best decisions for them and their families.”

WATCH: Part three of The Academy, the RugbyPass documentary series on Leicester Tigers

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Gatland responds to England and Lions links and slams Wales' loss of McBryde to 'closest rivals'