Wales keen to keep hold of Gatland

WALES rugby boss Roger Lewis has warned off possible suitors of coach Warren Gatland following a stunning World Cup run that threatens to make the New Zealander a man in demand.

Gatland has repeatedly been linked with the All Blacks top job, which will be vacated by Graham Henry after the tournament.

Wales are currently one win away from reaching their first World Cup final, with Gatland already tied in to a new four-year deal that will incorporate the 2015 competition hosted by England.

Lewis said: “Having worked in the music business for so long, when stars break and you sell millions of records and generate hundreds of millions of pounds, you have got to make sure you have got a contract there that is watertight,” he said.

“And we have got a watertight contract. Even if anyone wanted to come and have a conversation with us, and I am not suggesting this at all, it would cost them a heck of a lot of money.”

Meanwhile, France coach Dave Ellis has warned Wales that his side intends to step up a gear and provide them with their biggest test of the World Cup on Saturday.

The defence coach believes Wales deserve all the plaudits they have received but feels they have yet to be properly tested.

“Ireland do not score a lot of tries, South Africa do not score a lot of tries,” he said. “They [Wales] have played teams who kick and are defence-orientated, so logically they have not been tested much. But we will test them, without doubt.”

France, despite losing to New Zealand and Tonga during a tournament that has seen regular reports surface of rifts between players and head coach Marc Lievremont, have reached their fifth successive World Cup semi-final.

Things started to improve in a quarter-final victory over England four days ago, and Ellis claims France are ready to build on that performance.

“We intend to step up another few steps this coming weekend,” he said.

“I think Damien Traille and Imanol Harinordoquy mentioned that they didn’t appreciate things coming out in the press about the performances.

“The thing is, Marc says it to the players, he says it to the press quite honestly. I played the game for many years and I didn’t like being told that I had had a bad game, either.

“Everything has been taken from that and blown out of proportion.

“Obviously, when you beat England, which is something the French always like to do anyway, and you make the semi-finals of a World Cup, then things are getting better all the time.”

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