Martyn Phillips: Wales needs best coaches regardless of nationality

Glenn Delaney (left) is stepping up to the Scarlets job as Brad Mooar (right) returns to New Zealand to become an All Blacks assistant coach
Glenn Delaney (left) is stepping up to the Scarlets head coach job as Brad Mooar (right) returns to New Zealand to become an All Blacks assistant coach

Welsh Rugby Union chief executive Martyn Phillips believes Wales must look to attract the best coaches regardless of their nationality.

None of the four Welsh regions has a Welsh head coach.

Forwards coach Ioan Cunningham recently left the Scarlets with Glenn Delaney taking over as head coach from fellow New Zealander Brad Mooar.

"We're trying to grow our own, not be insular about how you do that and also appoint the best coach," said Phillips.

The last two Wales coaches have been New Zealanders with Wayne Pivac taking over from Warren Gatland, while former All Blacks prop Ben Franks has joined the Scarlets backroom staff as scrum coach.

"The strategic priority for us is to grow the best Welsh coaches we can, but it takes time," said Phillips.

"It can take five to 10 years to bring people through, not just the coaching skills but to have had the relevant experience."

In addition to Delaney at Scarlets, Dragons have Englishman Dean Ryan in charge, his compatriot Toby Booth is taking over at Ospreys for 2020-21 while Australian John Mulvihill is boss at Cardiff Blues.

Adam Jones, Jonathan Thomas, Lyn Jones, Phil Davies, Mark Jones, Kingsley Jones and Dwayne Peel are some of the former Wales internationals currently coaching outside their homeland.

Ex-Ospreys boss Steve Tandy is the Scotland defence coach while former Wales captain Dai Young has just finished a long stint at Wasps. There are no Welsh head coaches in the Pro14, Top14 or Premiership in England.

"We grow coaches partly through coaching in Wales, but also through not coaching in Wales," said Phillips.

"I would encourage people to leave Wales to learn their craft.

"We've been the beneficiaries of that if you take (Wales assistants) Jon Humphreys and Stephen Jones - both benefited from experience out of Wales.

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"There is a raft of other coaches coaching outside Wales and that can only make them better.

"Should we be appointing Welsh coaches or not? My philosophy is we've got to appoint the best coach for the job, and if they happen to be Welsh, that's a bonus.

"If there are two coaches, and 10% between them, then I'd probably go for the Welsh one.

"If there's a (bigger) gap between the best candidate and the second best, and the best candidate isn't Welsh, you still have to appoint them because it's all about winning and developing players.

"That is the same anywhere. You would not appoint a CEO of a business because they came from a certain country and I would not be buying shares in a company that did that."

The WRU have launched programmes to develop senior coaches and also help players transition to that role with Justin Tipuric, Leigh Halfpenny and James Hook already involved.

Ospreys investment 'positive'

Meanwhile, Phillips has welcomed the new investment in the Ospreys after the region was taken over by a sports marketing group which has bought a 75.1% stake in the region.

Asian-based Y11 Sports & Media company has become Ospreys' major shareholder in a "multi-million pound deal".

"Three of the four regions are independent entities anyway so this is just a different shareholder, so not a lot of change in that respect," said Phillips.

"It is positive in that it is new investment.

"We are keen to do everything to make them as strong as we can. The big thing was to get a deal away in a market like this is a hug accolade."

Phillips does not believe the Ospreys' takeover has changed the dynamic between the four regions.

"We are always keen if there is new investment coming into the game independently - that can only be a positive thing," he added.

"It is the same with the Dragons. We have not managed to get that deal away yet, but if there is a consortium that wants to step in, that would only be positive for Welsh rugby."