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Assistant coaches sign new contracts with WRU

Wales attack coach Rob Howley. Credit: PA Images

Wales assistant coaches Rob Howley and Robin McBryde have signed new deals with the Welsh Rugby Union.

Their new contract will include the 2019 World Cup tournament in Japan.

Attack coach Howley and forwards specialist McBryde will remain part of Wales boss Warren Gatland's support staff.

Wales will finish their tour of New Zealand against the All Blacks on Saturday.

Wales Forwards Coach Robin McBryde.

Our current focus is of course, as always, on the next game, but we have a long-term objective and strategy, too. I think we all feel we have some unfinished business at the Rugby World Cup, and as Martyn Phillips has identified, a successful trip to Japan is the key over-reaching target for us all.

– Robin McBryde

We have a fantastic group of players in Wales, not just those on tour with us in New Zealand at the moment, but at home with the Under-20s and coming through in the regions, and I am really looking forward to building towards Japan.

– Rob Howley

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Jonathan Davies relishing test against New Zealand

Credit: David Davies/PA Archive/PA Images

Wales centre Jonathan Davies was delighted to see the back of the New Zealand centre pairing of Ma'a Nonu and Conrad Smith at the end of the 2015 World Cup.

But Davies believes that whoever takes their place in the New Zealand midfield this month will be just as good, even though Nonu and Smith played 61 Tests together and appeared in two World Cup finals.

They were part of the retiring class after the World Cup triumph over Australia at Twickenham, leaving the Welsh duo of Davies and Jamie Roberts to take over their mantle as the most experienced midfield pair in the world game.

I played against Nonu a few weeks ago in France. He and Conrad Smith were a great partnership, probably the best I've seen in my time, and what they achieved was pretty special.

But we know that whoever steps into their jerseys now will be just as good.

I grew up watching Nonu and Smith play together and I tried to see why they were so good and then to emulate them when I got to that level.

– Jonathan Davies, Wales Centre

Jarvis called up for New Zealand tour

Credit: Paul Harding/PA Wire

Wales have called up Ospreys prop Aaron Jarvis as cover for Paul James for the tour of New Zealand.

James is struggling with a calf injury and looks set to miss both this weekend's first Test in Auckland against the All Blacks and Tuesday's clash with the Chiefs in Hamilton.

You always want a fully fit squad and Paul has been grafting hard to be fully fit particularly for the game on Tuesday. Unfortunately it doesn't look as though that is going to happen and we have brought Aaron out as cover.

– Shaun Edwards, Wales Assistant Coach

Dan Lydiate thanks fans for support after surgery

Wales international Dan Lydiate has thanked fans for their support after he underwent surgery on his shoulder yesterday.

The Wales flanker, who led the team against England at Twickenham last month has been ruled out of their tour to New Zealand due to his injury.

He is now looking at three months on the sideline after sustaining a significant injury at the top of his shoulder.

Uncapped Cardiff Blues player and former Wales U20 captain Ellis Jenkins has been called up to take his place on the summer tour.

Scott Williams: Wales need to think positively for New Zealand tour

Credit: PA Images

Scott Williams says Wales will need to do everything "on the money" when they tackle world rugby's toughest assignment.

Wales centre Williams and company headed to New Zealand on Monday, where the world champion All Blacks await across a three-Test series in Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin.

They have not beaten New Zealand since 1953, losing 26 successive Tests, while their away record in the fixture shows seven defeats from seven starts, conceding an average 40 points per game.

There is no point in us going to New Zealand with negative thoughts, otherwise it's going to be a long couple of weeks. We've got to take the positives and a couple of work-ons into the next two weeks.

I think everyone is going to have to play one of their best games to be able to beat New Zealand. That's what it is going to take, and that's what we have been training for in the last couple of weeks.

It's trying to lift the standards up. Every pass, everything you do is on the money, because when we play New Zealand, it's going to have to be.

– Scott Williams, Wales centre

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Mike Phillips signs for Sale Sharks

Mike Phillips in action against Australia in 2012 Credit: David Jones/PA Wire

Sale Sharks say former Wales scrum half Mike Phillips has signed for them from Racing 92.

Philips was Wales' most capped number 9 winning 94 caps.

Mike will fit perfectly into our plans here at Sale Sharks. He is a big, powerful and very skillful player and has plenty of experience playing at the top level of the game.

Mike will be one of three ex Racing 92 players at the club next season alongside Brian Mujati and Juandre Kruger.

– Steve Diamond, Director of Rugby
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