Rugby Union

Dan Biggar keen for Wales' coaching team to stay on

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Dan Biggar believes it would be a "massive, massive blow" if Wales' much-vaunted coaching team does not remain intact.

While Wales head coach Warren Gatland has a long-term deal that incorporates the Japan 2019 World Cup, defence specialist Shaun Edwards is shortly out of contract and attack coach Rob Howley's existing terms expire next summer.

The group also includes forwards coach Robin McBryde and skills man Neil Jenkins, with Wales reaching a World Cup semi-final and quarter-final since New Zealander Gatland took charge in 2008, plus winning three Six Nations titles, including two Grand Slams.

Former rugby league star Edwards, 49, is thought to be on the Rugby Football Union's radar, with a coaching shake-up likely at Twickenham following England's World Cup flop that saw them knocked out just three games and 16 days into the current tournament.

Wales exited the competition following a 23-19 defeat against quarter-final opponents South Africa, but they led until the 75th minute after booking a last-eight place by emerging from a punishing pool that also included Australia, England and Fiji.

Asked about the coaching staff staying together, Wales fly-half Biggar said: "Absolutely. That has been the key to our success since they have been involved.

"It is the consistency of boys rocking up to camp on a Monday morning and knowing exactly what we are going to get from the coaching team and what the sessions are. That is a key part.

"Every single person in our back-room staff plays a massive role, from the masseuse to the head coach. If we can keep as many of those together as possible, it gives us a great chance moving forward.

"It will be a massive, massive blow if we didn't hold on to any of them, and it is what has been so key for us, that consistency and familiarity of what goes on in our camp.

"It has been like a club side, you can't describe it any other way. We have been a club side for the last four months and it has been pretty special to be a part of."

Biggar leaves the 2015 World Cup as arguably Wales' most consistent player, having amassed 56 points and proved himself to be among the tournament's most astute tactical operators.

But he gave short shrift to those who will readily tag Wales as plucky losers.

"We are not interested in sympathy," he added. "At the end of the day, we've lost a quarter-final and that's the way it is.

"It is pretty raw at the moment, but in a few weeks we can look back and be pretty proud of our efforts. Ultimately though, we have failed in our goal, which was to reach the final.

"The immediate feeling is that we've been knocked out of a World Cup quarter-final that we were leading with five minutes to go. It's going to take a little bit of time to get over that.

"I thought we just about did enough to win the game, but fair play to South Africa, that is what a quality team does.

"If we had taken one of our chances early on it might have been different, but we can look ourselves in the mirror and think that with everything that has gone on I don't think we could have given an awful lot more as a squad and management team.

"It has been such a group effort."

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