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Young's Dai will come - but not yet; RUGBY LEGEND.

Byline: Phil Bennett

DAI YOUNG is the best of the regional bunch when it comes to looking for the next Wales coach.

But he needs to achieve more success with the Cardiff Blues to convince me he's the man to take over from Warren Gatland.

That's nothing against Dai or a reflection of the Blues' poor start to the season.

It's just my way of stressing that whoever takes charge after the 2011 World Cup - and I'm convinced Gatland will go back to New Zealand then - needs to come in with as good a track record as Gatland had.

Warren said in a radio interview this week that he was still very keen to coach the All Blacks one day and I reckon that day will be the morning after the World Cup Final.

You can't blame him.

He's ambitious and the top job for any Kiwi is to take charge of the All Blacks.

That got me thinking about his successor, but just as I pointed out a few weeks ago that automatic candidates to follow Ian McGeechan as Lions coach were not exactly throwing themselves forward, the same goes for the Wales job.

There is Shaun Edwards, his current number two, and also Rob Howley his backs coach.

Both men are hugely respected and doing an excellent job, but neither have a long track record of success as head coach, with Shaun's Wasps experience mostly as second in command.

Among the four regional coaches, then Paul Turner, Nigel Davies and Scott Johnson have their various strengths but I don't think any of that trio has delivered enough success to yet step up to the Wales job.

Dai (right) has been in charge of the Blues for far longer than the other three have held their jobs.

He must have been thankful he had a patient chairman in Peter Thomas in the early years because the club badly underachieved and many people wanted his head.

Last season he delivered some silverware as they lifted the EDF Energy Cup at Twickenham and played some magnificent rugby along the way.

They also reached the semi-finals of the Heineken Cup and were unlucky not to make the final.

Hats off to Dai, he's turned things around and stayed true to his principles and to himself.

What I really like about him is that he's almost alone these days in talking the same language as the people who pay to watch the game.

You won't hear him trying to con people with management-speak waffle, whatever the results.

But as an honest guy, he won't need me to tell him that the Blues have still not made it. They still haven't broken into that top echelon in Europe - along with the likes of Munster, Leicester, Wasps, Toulouse, Leinster and so on - and until they do he should not be satisfied.

Good coaches are not people who enjoy one good season and then fade.

They gain success and they build on it, producing progress and more success year after year.

So, I'm hopeful Dai shakes the Blues out of their current plight and then gets them to deliver.

Only then can we talk about him as the Wales coach in-waiting.

Interview: David Williams
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Sep 20, 2009
Words:538
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