The Welsh Rugby Union have confirmed that they want to have their new coach in place and working alongside Steve Hansen during the up coming RBS Six Nations Championship, but they have refused to rule out employing another non-Welshman for the job.
The hunt for Hansen's successor will begin in earnest following the New Zealander's announcement that he will definately leave Wales when his contract expires in May.
The Welsh Rugby Union will publicly advertise the post before Christmas and hope to appoint the new man before the opening game against Scotland on February 14th 2004, giving them less than three months to get their man.
"We hope to advertise the post before Christmas, if not then soon after, and have the person employed so he can shadow Steve Hansen during the Six Nations," said Steve Lewis, WRU General Manager. "That would be the ideal scenario though we understand that it might not necessarily be possible."
All five regional bosses have been told they will have to apply, just as anyone else, and that there is no guarantee that the successful candidate will be Welsh.
"We just want to ensure we have the best man for the job, whether he is Welsh or not," said Lewis.
The Wales Women's team headed to Dare Valley Country Park on a team bonding exercise as the entire squad got together for the very first time in preparation for this season's Six Nations championship which kicks off on Saturday with a clash against defending champions Ireland, in Donnybrook.
Wales Head Coach Warren Gatland discusses his team selection for the opening round of the RBS 6 Nations where he leads his side against Ireland, on Sunday. As WRU TV's Luke Brodley discovers, Gatland is fully aware of the challenges the defending champions pose
WRUTV caught up with Wales Women captain Rachel Taylor at the RBS 6 Nations launch and how a good crowd really helps boost the girls performance. Tickets for all three Women's home games at The Gnoll, Neath are available from www.wru.wales/tickets