Stephen Jones and Gethin Jenkins leave Wales coaching roles

Stephen Jones and Gethin Jenkins leave Wales coaching roles

Gethin Jenkins and Stephen Jones played in Wales’ Grand Slam-winning side in 2005

Wales coaches Stephen Jones and Gethin Jenkins are to leave their roles after Warren Gatland decided they will not be part of his new backroom staff.

Gatland replaced Wayne Pivac as Wales head coach earlier this month and has been assembling his coaching team.

Attack coach Jones and defence expert Jenkins follow Pivac out of the door but forwards coach Jonathan Humphreys will keep his job.

Kicking coach Neil Jenkins is also to remain in the set-up.

Former Wales attack coach Rob Howley, currently involved in the Canadian coaching set-up, has been touted for a reunion with Gatland in his second stint in charge.

Ex-England defence coach Paul Gustard, currently employed by Stade Francais, is another who has been linked with the new Wales set-up, while former Wales flanker Jonathan Thomas is also tipped to be in contention for a role.

The Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) say the search is ongoing for new attack and defence coaches, with both positions expected to be filled in January.

“We are delighted both Jonathan and Neil will stay on and be a part of Warren’s new team,” said WRU chief executive Steve Phillips.

“The very nature of a changeover at the helm of a national team brings with it the possibility for change and evolution elsewhere in the backroom staff.

“I know both Stephen and Gethin understand this part of the process and they should be commended for the good grace with which they have accepted the decision.

“We have appointed a very experienced and senior head coach, one of the best coaches in the world game and Wales’ most successful ever coach, and it is important to now ensure he is afforded the very best opportunity to succeed.

“That means giving our maximum support as Warren seeks to build the right team around him – with the right blend of skills and character to suit his own style – to achieve success for Wales in the short amount of time available and we look forward to making further positive appointments in the new year.”

Jones started in the Wales set-up under Gatland after being a late replacement before the 2019 World Cup in Japan for Howley, who was sent home before the tournament because of betting offences he had committed.

Jones, who won 104 caps for Wales at fly-half, worked alongside Pivac after the duo helped Scarlets win the Pro12 title in 2017.

The high point of Jones’ involvement in the national coaching set-up was in the 2021 Six Nations triumph, when Wales scored a record 20 tries.

Former prop Jenkins played 129 internationals for Wales and five Tests for the British and Irish Lions before retiring in 2018. Gatland also chose Jenkins to captain Wales.

After coaching spells with Cardiff RFC and Wales Under-20s, Jenkins replaced Sam Warburton and joined Pivac’s backroom staff in 2020 to work alongside Byron Hayward.

When Hayward was dismissed, Jenkins was given the defence coach job on a permanent basis ahead of the 2021 Six Nations.

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