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Northampton Saints have just addressed the Warren Gatland rumours in a statement

By Alex Fisher
Wales boss Warren Gatland

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Northampton Saints are keen on speaking to Wales head coach Warren Gatland about their director of rugby vacancy, according to club president Keith Barwell.

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The Premiership side parted company with Jim Mallinder last week, the 51-year-old’s decade-long stint coming to an end following nine defeats in a 10-game spell.

The identity of Mallinder’s replacement remains unclear, but Barwell has confirmed Gatland – who is set to leave his Wales role after the 2019 World Cup – is among those being considered.

“When we recruited Jim 10 years ago, Warren Gatland was one of those shortlisted,” Barwell told the Daily Mirror.

“We decided not to ring him then. Well I thought we’d give him a second chance.

“I won’t be choosing the coach, let me say that, we’ve got a committee that’s doing that.

“But I want people to understand that we’re starting from the top not the bottom so, yes, we’re interested in Warren.”

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It is also interesting to note that earlier in the year Welsh chief executive Martyn Phillips stated that should Gatland wish to leave his contract early, he wouldn’t stand in his way.

Conceding to BBC Sport that he would not force the 53-year-old to stay against his wishes.

“I don’t think he’d do it [leave],” Phillips told BBC Sport.

“A huge value for him is loyalty, so I don’t think it would happen.

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“But having said that, if he did, the people you need on your team have got to want to be there.

“The job is so critical to Wales. I wouldn’t want somebody doing it who doesn’t want to be there.

“So if he wanted to go, he could go.”

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