Wales’ Grand Slam winning Warren Gatland has disappointed England by ruling out potential rumours he will become their next coach.
Gatland dismissed any murmurs that he is lined up to replace Eddie Jones in a pre-match interview this weekend after England Rugby chiefs previously stating that the New Zealander was one of their top targets.
He spoiled St Patrick’s Day for the Irish this weekend, demolishing them 25-7 on Saturday to claim the Grand Slam, and he looks to have spoiled the fun for the English RFU too.
Gatland has coached Wales since 2008 but will leave the post after this year's World Cup in Japan.
Although he has briefly discussed his future with various interested parties, England are not one of them.
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He said: “I don’t know. I’ve had conversations with a few people, but nothing concrete," per Wales Online.
“No, I haven’t spoken to England. There’s a lot of rumours. It’s not something I’m planning on doing and I haven’t thought about what my next step is going to be.
"I’d never be allowed back over the bridge again (if he became England coach).
“My plan is to finish after the World Cup, take a break and assess what is going to happen after that.”
The RFU’s search for a new coach will continue as Jones’ current contract ends in 2021, but he may leave even sooner if England have a poor World Cup.
England let a 31-0 lead slip against Scotland this weekend, before rescuing the highest-scoring draw in international history making it 38-38 in the 83rd minute, leading many to question the Australian Jones.
The RFU chief executive Nigel Melville has said they want to appoint an Englishman, and Melville and Gatland do have history as the pair joined forces when the current Welsh coach took charge of Wasps while he was their director of rugby in 2002.
Gatland has been hugely successful for Wales, winning four Six Nations and three Grand Slams, as well as successful tours of Australia and New Zealand with the British and Irish Lions, therefore you can see why England want him.
Stuart Lancaster returning to England was another possibility highlighted by Melville, but he has since signed a contract extension until 2021 with Leinster this week, meaning the RFU will have their work cut out to find Jones’ replacement.