Wales assistant coach Shaun Edwards yesterday signed a new four-year contract.
The deal will take Edwards, who has been part of Warren Gatland’s Wales coaching team since 2008, through to his third World Cup in Japan in 2019.
“Shaun has shown great loyalty to Wales since he came into the role back in 2008 and as the squad prepare for their next campaign and looking further ahead to the next four-year cycle it is important they have the structure and resources in place,” said WRU group chief executive Martyn Phillips.
Former rugby league great Edwards spent 10 years at London Wasps after switching to union in 2001, first as a defence and backs coach under Gatland.
The duo won three consecutive Premiership titles and the Heineken Cup during the four seasons they were together.
Edwards took over as head coach in 2005 after Gatland returned to New Zealand, with Ian McGeechan appointed director of rugby, and Wasps were crowned European champions again in 2007.
Gatland and Edwards were reunited with Wales in 2008, the Wigan-born coach first joining on a part-time basis before the appointment was made full-time in 2011.
During his time in Wales the national side have won three RBS 6 Nations titles, including two Grand Slams, and reached the semi-final of the 2011 World Cup.
Edwards had been linked to leaving Wales in recent months, with Six Nations rivals England and Ireland reported as possible destinations, but the 49-year-old said he was delighted to have signed a new contract with the WRU.
“As a coach it is fantastic to work alongside such a dedicated and talented group of players and to be part of a strong management team,” Edwards said.
“Warren has assembled a great team off the field and it’s a great environment.
“For me it is great to have signed through until 2019, but as I always have done, my focus is always on the next match and the next competition, which for us is the Six Nations.”
Phillips added: “It is extremely positive for the WRU and the national squad to announce we have secured Shaun’s services for another four years.
“Under Warren the national squad have assembled an outstanding management team and Shaun is a vital part of that team.”