Attack coach Robert Howley wants to stay with Wales

Robert Howley and Warren Gatland
Robert Howley wants to remain part of Warren Gatland's regime

Attack coach Robert Howley wants to remain part of Wales coach Warren Gatland's staff following their fourth-place World Cup finish.

Howley, defence coach Shaun Edwards and forwards coach Robin McBryde's contracts ended as Wales returned from New Zealand.

"We haven't seen the best of these [Wales players] yet and I'd love to be a part of it," said Howley.

Edwards' future is uncertain at club and Test level.

Like Howley, Edwards has been linked with possible roles at Cardiff Blues, while Howley has also been touted as a future member of Bath's coaching set-up under Ian McGeechan.

Edwards has combined being head coach at Wasps with his Wales role, while McBryde has a similar arrangement with the Scarlets.

But no matter what his future may hold below international level, the former Wales and British and Irish Lions scrum-half Howley believes he wants to remain involved with the mix of youth and experience at Wales' disposal.

And he believes Wales can only improve following their performances in New Zealand.

They lost in the semi-finals in controversial circumstances to eventual beaten finalists France and missed out on bronze in the 21-18 play-off defeat by Australia.

Only wing Shane Williams, 34, has declared he will soon quit Test rugby, meaning the rest of Wales' tournament squad remains available.

Gatland took over following Gareth Jenkins' sacking in the wake of Wales' 2007 World Cup flop in France.

Howley joined Gatland's back-room staff along with Edwards in January 2008 and Wales gained instant success with a Six Nations Grand Slam.

They went on to be the home nations' best performers at the World Cup, with many pundits convinced they would have beaten France in the semi-finals had captain Sam Warburton not been sent off early on for a tip-tackle on wing Vincent Clerc.

Wales were unable to match their best finish of third at the inuargual 1987 tournament when they met the Wallabies in Auckland.

But on his return from the tournament Howley said: "I want to stay with Wales.

"I've thoroughly enjoyed the last four years, I'm only 41 and been coaching eight years now and I think every tournament and every game they're getting better and better.

"And this Welsh side - I think Welsh rugby's in a good place.

"I think these players have been in a good place in the last seven weeks and we haven't seen the best of these yet and I'd love to be a part of it."

Howley believes the current crop of players earned international respect and won over the neutral supporters for the manner in which they played.

However, he also feels that "the players deserve every credit [but] we still came fourth.

"There's huge disappointment in the last two games.

"But I think that from a worldwide rugby perspective we put Wales back on the map of where we deserve to be and I think the players can take all the accolades that they get."

In October 2010 Gatland signed a contract extension taking him through to the 2015 World Cup that England will host.

Cardiff's Millennium Stadium will also host some 2015 tournament games.