Two coaches have withdrawn from Wales’ tour to Tonga and Samoa this summer, hampering preparations for a squad missing 12 of its frontline players due to Lions duty.
Cardiff Blues coach Danny Wilson was originally named as part of interim head coach Robin McBryde’s coaching team back in December, along with fellow regional coaches Matt Sherratt (also Cardiff Blues) and Stephen Jones (Scarlets), who all joined regular Wales coach Shaun Edwards.
However, the Blues are planning a staff restructuring in the rugby department and Wilson has chosen to stay at home and focus on regional affairs instead.
Regarding his decision, Wilson said:
“The Blues are my priority and with things slightly changing here I want to remain in Cardiff to ensure we are best prepared for pre-season, the 2017-18 season itself and beyond.
“I am very grateful to the Welsh Rugby Union for the opportunity, and their understanding of my decision, and wish Robin and his team all the very best for what will be a tough tour.”
Now former Wales fly-half Stephen Jones has chosen to leave the coaching panel after his team the Scarlets progressed to the latter stages of the Pro12.
The West Wales region’s third-placed league position means they will face Leinster in Dublin in the first of the PRO12 semi-finals on Friday May 19. Jones felt the workload would affect his preparations for Wales’ forthcoming Two-test tour, and so has taken the decision not to be involved.
“Firstly, I would like to thank Robin for his support and understanding on this matter. It was a huge honour to be named as part of Robin’s coaching set-up for the summer tour and I am grateful to Robin for giving me that opportunity.
“Having said that we are delighted, as a region, to be in a position to be playing for silverware and the Scarlets has to take precedence. Reaching the play-offs means an extended season and increased workload meaning that I can’t give my undivided attention to preparing for the tour.”
The coaching team is now made up of Robin McBryde, Shaun Edwards, Cardiff Blues coach Matt Sherratt and Wales Sevens head coach Gareth Williams. The WRU have stated that if necessary, any new additions to the coaching set-up will be made in due course.
However, the situation is hardly ideal preparations for the side with limited time together before they head off to the Pacific Islands later this year.
Paul Wassell, Pundit Arena
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