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.
Dodgy tattoos, carthorses, Avatar and soft chins are revealed by Wales Sevens players Tom Williams and Sam Cross as they profile the Wales Sevens squad taking part in Hong Kong this weekend in the latest round of the HSBC Sevens World Series.
The youngest member of the Wales Women's squad, Keira Bevan, is hoping to repay the faith shown in her when she starts her first Six Nations game against Italy tomorrow evening in the final round of the championship.
Sevens head coach Gareth Williams is a happy man after drafting in full internationals Rhodri Williams and Adam Warren for the next two rounds of the world series in Hong Kong and Japan, as WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie discovers.