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Warren Gatland hoping Wales legacy lives on

Warren Gatland hoping Wales legacy lives on
© Reuters
Wales boss' long reign ends with defeat in World Cup bronze-medal match.

Warren Gatland says it would break his heart if Welsh rugby ever returned to the doldrums.

Gatland’s 12-year reign as Wales coach ended with a 40-17 defeat in the World Cup bronze-medal match against New Zealand at Tokyo Stadium.

Wales won four Six Nations titles, three Grand Slams, reached two World Cup semi-finals and were briefly world ranked number one team under his direction.

Gatland’s assistants Shaun Edwards and Robin McBryde are also leaving their posts, with a new coaching team headed by Wayne Pivac taking over this month.

When Gatland was appointed in late 2007, Wales had earlier crashed out of that year’s World Cup at the pool stage following a horror defeat by Fiji in Nantes.

“I really hope for what we’ve achieved in the last 10-12 years, and we feel we’ve earned respect and put respect back into Wales as an international team, that the new coaches coming in continue to build on that,” Gatland said.

“Because what we’ve done, what we’ve achieved, it would break my heart if Wales went back into the doldrums.

“I just want then to continue. There’s an opportunity for the new group to come in and build on what we’ve created and to improve on it.

“It’s not to be too greedy on winning the Six Nations every year, but going out there and performing well in the Six Nations.

“And to continue to hopefully get a few Six Nations titles over the way and make sure we are as competitive as we can possibly can be against the other top nations.

Gatland will continue as Lions boss
Gatland will continue as Lions boss (Adam Davy/PA)

“We feel we have done that, and I really want Wales to continue to build on that. I want to see these boys be as successful as they possibly can.”

There was no fairytale finish for Gatland as the All Blacks ran in six tries, although Wales replied with touchdowns for wing Josh Adams and full-back Hallam Amos.

Adams’ score took him to seven touchdowns for the tournament, breaking Shane Williams’ Welsh record for one World Cup in 2007.

Gatland, who will coach the Barbarians against Wales in Cardiff later this month, added: “I had already gone through that process of knowing it was my last game and not trying to get too emotional about it.

“I had come to a realisation about it a long time ago. It’s something I had prepared myself for and (to) start thinking about the next challenges in life.

“There will be a good crowd there (for the Barbarians game) and hopefully it gives me a chance to say thank you to the Welsh public and fans and express my sincere thanks in terms of on how much I’ve enjoyed these last 12 years.

Josh Adams scored in defeat
Josh Adams scored in defeat (David Davies/PA)

“If you ask them (Wales players) to run through a brick wall, the next question is ‘what do you want me to do when I get to the other side?'”

New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen, who also steps down after the World Cup, said: “We (Hansen and Gatland) have played 10 times, I think, and it might be eight wins (to New Zealand), one loss, one draw. It’s been competitive, yeah.

“He’s coaching a team, Wales, I once coached, and he has done a wonderful job.

“Having him back in New Zealand (at the Chiefs) for a year, I’m not sure how that is going to work because he’s going to do the (British and Irish) Lions after that, so not a lot of continuity for him or the Chiefs, but I am sure he’ll work his way through that.”

On no longer being involved with the All Blacks, Hansen added: “It will be beer in one hand, and access to another one in the other hand. No pressure.

“You will always be connected to the team. It’s like a family, and you will always want it to do well.

“I wish and hope this team continues to grow and get better, and I will look on it with great pride.”

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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
United StatesUnited States25292276
Great BritainGreat Britain14181547
Today's Olympic highlights header

Wednesday's key events

· Team GB starlet Sky Brown - aged just 13 - takes part in the women's park event and has a realistic chance of picking up a medal too. Bombette Martin is Britain's other representative, while hosts Japan are among the favourites for gold (1am)

· Great Britain's women have more history in their sights heading into their semi-final against Netherlands - the team they beat in the 2016 gold medal match (2.30am)

· The men's 400m hurdles final on Tuesday will go down as one of the greatest Olympic races of all time, and the women will attempt to emulate that, with new world record holder Sydney McLaughlin of USA and Netherlands' Femke Bol the favourites for gold (3.30am)
· Nick Miller is Britain's representative in the men's hammer throw final (12.15pm)
· The men's 800m final could be a wide-open affair (1.05pm)
· A thrilling men's 200m final is in store as the likes of Andre de Grasse, Noah Lyles and 17-year-old sensation Erriyon Knighton bid to succeed Usain Bolt as Olympic champion (1.55pm)

· After a medal-laden day on the water on Tuesday, Great Britain will be looking for more success, starting with Luke Patience and Chris Grube in the men's 470-class medal race (6.33am)
· Team GB also have medal hopes in the women's event, with defending champion Hannah Mills looking to retain her crown alongside new teammate Eilidh McIntyre (7.33am)

· Already guaranteed at least a bronze, Great Britain's Frazer Clarke faces Uzbekistan's Bakhodir Jalolov in the men's super heavyweight with a place in the gold medal bout up for grabs (7.03am)
· Ben Whittaker is also guaranteed a medal, but will look to ensure that is either gold or silver as he takes on Cuba's Arlen Lopez in the light heavyweight final (7.35am)

· World records have been tumbling in the velodrome, and another could go in the men's team pursuit final as Italy - new world record holders themselves - face Denmark (10.06am)

· Three Brits have made into into the final of the men's jumping individual final, including fastest qualifier Ben Maher, who will bid to inherit compatriot Nick Skelton's Olympic crown (11am)

> Today's schedule in full
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