You are viewing the content for Friday 17 February 2006

Wales wannabe Jenkins wants WRU shake-up

By Alex Lowe
LLANELLI SCARLETS head coach Gareth Jenkins is not interested in succeeding Mike Ruddock as Wales head coach - unless changes are made at the top of the Welsh Rugby Union.

Ruddock quit suddenly on Tuesday night and Jenkins would have been a leading candidate for the job.

But he is still sore after being overlooked for the role two years ago.

Jenkins had been one of the favourites to replace Steve Hansen in 2004 until the WRU approached Ruddock, persuaded him to apply and then offered him the job.

"I find it very difficult to work with the group of people that manage Welsh rugby at this time," said Jenkins.

"That probably makes me unavailable at the moment, but if circumstances change and new people were involved I would want to be considered in the future. I wouldn’t want to work with people who I felt let me down particularly badly."

But Jenkins, a member of the British and Irish Lions management team on last summer’s New Zealand tour, does have ambitions to coach Wales.

"I still feel as if I could coach Wales, I still feel as if I’ve got a real ambition of wanting to do that sometime in my career," he said.

Jenkins admitted Ruddock’s departure had left him shocked.

"I was as flabbergasted as everyone else in Wales I think," said Jenkins.

"The reaction has been ‘what the heck has gone on?’ - there’s more coming out, more emerging all the time about the circumstances.

"All I can say is Mike has had an amazing, short international rugby career.

"He’s won a Six Nations Grand Slam for Wales for the first time in 27 years and that says it all."

Scott Johnson has taken over as caretaker coach for Wales’ three remaining RBS 6 Nations Championship games.

The Australian would be the obvious first choice to succeed Ruddock permanently - but he has pressing family issues which could force him to return Down Under.

Johnson has also been heavily linked with a role in the new Wallabies’ coaching set-up, now headed by former Bath coach John Connolly.