Chinese Super League club Hebei China Fortune have sacked Chris Coleman after 11 months at the helm.

Coleman, who took Wales to the Euro 2016 semi-finals, succeeded Manuel Pellegrini last June shortly after suffering relegation with Sunderland, but he has paid the price for a poor start to the 2019 campaign.

After finishing sixth in the division last term, Hebei have claimed just a single victory in nine CSL games, leaving them second from bottom in the 16-team league.

They have lost each of their past three games, including Saturday's 3-2 home defeat to Henan Jianye, when supporters held up a banner that read: "Hello Mr. Coleman, please go home! You're fired!"

The club's hierarchy have since decided a change of leadership is required.

A statement from the club read: "After negotiation between the two sides, Chris Coleman will no longer serve as the head coach of the Hebei China Fortune.

"We sincerely thank Coleman for his hard work and contribution and wish him all the best in future work and life."

Shaun Edwards will vacate his role as Wales defence coach after the Rugby World Cup.

Edwards last month confirmed he would not return to Wigan Warriors, having initially agreed to take over as head coach of the Super League champions next season.

Wales head coach Warren Gatland urged Edwards to make a decision on his future to avoid speculation that could be a distraction ahead of the World Cup.

The 52-year-old has now revealed that he will not stay on for a new era under Wayne Pivac.

Edwards said: "After more than 10 years with Wales this has been an incredibly difficult decision to reach but I won't be renewing my contract.

"I would like to thank Warren and the WRU [Welsh Rugby Union] for the opportunity I have had working with the national team.

"We have won four Six Nations titles during my time with Wales, but I sincerely hope and believe that the best days are yet to come and I am fully focused on seeing what we can achieve in Japan."

Gatland said: "Shaun has been an important part of the Wales set up over the past 11 years for what has been a hugely rewarding time for Welsh rugby.

"It is pleasing that we can draw a line under the speculation regarding Shaun's future with this announcement and we can look forward to preparing the squad for the RWC and the tournament itself in Japan later this year."

Warren Gatland has had no contact with England about taking over as coach after the World Cup.

The Wales boss will leave his post after the tournament in Japan, for which they are among the favourites to reach the latter stages.

Gatland revealed he has received numerous approaches from parties interested in appointing him when his World Cup duties are complete.

But he has had no communication with England, saying: "I haven't spoken to England at all.

"I think they were quite clear in what they were doing, in that they won't be making any appointments or talking to anyone until post-World Cup.

"I've had a number of approaches from different sources, so it's about making the right decision at the right time. I'm just weighing those things up.

"Really my whole focus is about the next seven months, Wales and the World Cup. I'm not too worried about whether I have a job or don't have a job and take a bit of a break.

"I'm a great believer in what will be will be, and something will potentially turn up."

Wales coach Warren Gatland has named uncapped duo Rhys Carre and Owen Lane in his 42-man training squad for the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Six Nations champions Wales begin their preparation for the tournament in June and after a training camp in Switzerland will take on England home and away on August 11 and 17.

The group will head to Turkey for warm-weather drills before returning to face Ireland on August 31 and September 7.

Gatland will name his 31-man World Cup squad prior to the second Ireland match and Carre and Lane, who have both starred for Cardiff Blues this season, have been handed a chance to impress. 

"It is exciting to name our training squad and to get the ball rolling," Gatland said.

"We've named a 42-man squad, packed with experience, a good number of the Grand Slam-winning squad are in there plus some players who have returned from injury.

"We have created some great competition in the squad and there are a couple of players on the injury list at the moment that we could add into the squad at a later date depending on their recovery.

"We have been really impressed with Rhys and with Owen. They have both been on our succession plan for a while and it will be good to have them in camp with us and to see what they are able to do."

Injured trio Aaron Shingler, Taulupe Faletau and Josh Navidi are included in anticipation of them returning in time for the tournament.

Wales start their World Cup campaign against Georgia on September 23, before facing Australia, Fiji and Uruguay in their other Pool D fixtures.

 

Wales squad in full:

Backs: Josh Adams, Hallam Amos, Gareth Anscombe, Dan Biggar, Aled Davies, Gareth Davies, Jonathan Davies, Jarrod Evans, Steff Evans, Leigh Halfpenny, Jonah Holmes, Hadleigh Parkes, Rhys Patchell, Owen Lane, George North, Owen Watkin, Liam Williams, Scott Williams, Tomos Williams.

Forwards: Jake Ball, Adam Beard, Leon Brown, Rhys Carre, Bradley Davies, James Davies, Elliot Dee, Ryan Elias, Rob Evans, Taulupe Faletau, Tomas Francis, Cory Hill, Alun Wyn Jones, Wyn Jones, Samson Lee, Dillon Lewis, Ross Moriarty, Josh Navidi, Ken Owens, Aaron Shingler, Nicky Smith, Justin Tipuric, Aaron Wainwright.

John Fogarty will join Ireland's coaching staff after the Rugby World Cup and Wales forwards coach Robin McBryde will replace him at Leinster.

Leinster scrum coach Fogarty has agreed to work in a new era under Andy Farrell as a replacement for Greg Feek.

Fogarty will be employed across the four Irish provinces in his position of IRFU [ Irish Rugby Football Union] national academy forwards coach.

European and Pro14 champions Leinster have turned to McBryde to fill the void left by Fogarty.

"I've enjoyed my time in Leinster Rugby. Working with some of the players from a young age and seeing them grow into senior players with Leinster and for some, with Ireland, has been brilliant," said Fogarty.

"To get the chance to now develop that further with all four academies and to work with Andy Farrell and the rest of the Ireland set up is something that I'm very much looking forward to.

"I wouldn't have had this chance though if Leinster Rugby and Leo Cullen hadn't given me the opportunity to work with the Leinster senior team. I am very grateful for that opportunity.

"I'll miss what we have built here at Leinster but I am equally excited by what lies ahead."

Farrell will step up to succeed Joe Schmidt following the World Cup in Japan.

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson understands goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey is "desperate" to be educated about Adolf Hitler and fascism after his apparent "lamentable" ignorance saw him cleared of wrongdoing after making an alleged Nazi salute.

Wales international Hennessey was charged by the Football Association (FA) after a photograph showing him with his right arm raised and left hand placed over his mouth was posted to Instagram by Palace team-mate Max Meyer, who is German, in January. 

Hennessey denied knowingly giving the Nazi salute and an FA hearing earlier in April found the charges against him were not proven.

Nevertheless, the written reasons produced by the judging panel surmised Hennessey had "a very considerable – one might even say lamentable – degree of ignorance about anything to do with Hitler, fascism and the Nazi regime".

And Hodgson is convinced Hennessey now wants to learn about the history attached to Nazism.

"I don't know how disappointed one should be [about Hennessey's perceived ignorance]," Hodgson said at a news conference on Friday.

"It's different to people of my generation who are much closer to it [the period of time]. I don't quite know what the young generation is learning about it.

"I think what is important in that report is that they made it perfectly clear they found Wayne a very honest and kind and good individual.

"The fact he lacks education is where we as a club and Kick It Out [an equality and inclusion organisation], with whom we work very closely, have to take into consideration, because maybe it's something we haven't been so aware of.

"Obviously we are talking about a period of history which maybe isn't being dealt with in the education programme as it once was.

"I would guess that this might be a subject which goes beyond one individual, we might be highlighting with Wayne that it's actually rife throughout football.

"I've no idea about the level of knowledge in relation to the Holocaust, the Second World War, in other clubs or even in our club. It's now something we know may well exist and will have to be dealt with.

"Together, the club and Kick It Out, we will sort it out, certainly where Wayne's concerned because he is actually very desperate now to learn as much as he can."

Palace are away to Arsenal in the Premier League on Sunday.

Crystal Palace goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey was deemed to have a "lamentable" degree of ignorance about Adolf Hitler and fascism by the panel that cleared him of a Football Association (FA) charge for an alleged Nazi salute.

Wales international Hennessey was charged by the FA after a photograph showing him with his right arm raised and left hand placed over his mouth was posted to Instagram by his Palace team-mate Max Meyer in January.

Hennessey denied knowingly making the gesture and a hearing in April found the charges against the goalkeeper not proven.

The written reasons released on Tuesday explained why Hennessey did not receive any punishment following the incident.

"Mr Hennessey categorically denied that he was giving a Nazi salute. Indeed, from the outset he said that he did not even know what one was," said the document.

"Improbable as that may seem to those of us of an older generation, we do not reject that assertion as untrue.

"In fact, when cross-examined about this Mr Hennessey displayed a very considerable – one might even say lamentable – degree of ignorance about anything to do with Hitler, fascism and the Nazi regime.

"Regrettable though it may be that anyone should be unaware of so important a part of our own and world history, we do not feel we should therefore find he was not telling the truth about this.

"All we would say (at the risk of sounding patronising) is that Mr Hennessey would be well advised to familiarise himself with events which continue to have great significance to those who live in a free country." 

The written reasons also noted Meyer, who is German, would "hardly be likely" to have posted the photograph to Instagram had he felt Hennessey was giving a Nazi salute.

Meyer was among those who gave evidence, along with Hennessey's manager Roy Hodgson and Palace players Connor Wickham, James McArthur, Julian Speroni, Martin Kelly and Wilfried Zaha. 

Gareth Anscombe is set to leave Cardiff Blues and join Pro14 rivals the Ospreys ahead of next season, it has been confirmed.

Monday's announcement ended weeks of speculation surrounding the future of the fly-half, who kicked 20 points as Wales defeated Ireland to clinch Six Nations Grand Slam glory last month.

Anscombe had been linked with a number of Premiership clubs but remaining in Wales means he will continue to be available for Warren Gatland's World Cup squad later this year.

"I'm delighted to have secured my future to play professional rugby in Wales and to be joining the Ospreys," Anscombe said.

"I am very happy to finally be able to put pen to paper during what's been an unsettling time and commit to staying in Wales.

"I know a lot of the boys from my time with the Wales team and they can't speak highly enough of the spirit and ambition within the region, which really excites me.

"I've been impressed with the vision and the long-term goals of the coaches and region as a whole and I would like to thank them for supporting my dream to continue playing pro rugby in Wales and, if I am playing well enough, to play for my country."

Born in New Zealand to a Welsh mother, Anscombe made his international debut in August 2015 and has since won 26 caps.

"I would like to thank everyone at the Blues for the last five years of continuous support," Anscombe added.

"They have an incredible team of people working behind the scenes to help the boys, along with some of the best supporters around. I can't thank them enough for all they have done for me since arriving from New Zealand.

"Thanks also to a great group of boys playing at the club who welcomed me and made me feel at home from the start. I will continue to do my best for the team until the end of the season and I will leave with many happy memories of my time with the Blues."

Shaun Edwards has decided not to take up the head coach role at Wigan Warriors next season, citing a lack of preparation time.

Wales rugby union defence coach Edwards was set to link up with the Super League side and take over from Adrian Lam later this year, although in March it was confirmed only an "oral agreement" was in place.

The 52-year-old explained his change of heart in a club statement on Monday, insisting there was no financial incentive to backtracking on the deal, despite recent links to the England and Wasps jobs.

"After much thought and deliberation, I wish to clarify my situation," he said. "I will not be taking up the head coaching role at Wigan, the reason being my lack of preparation.

"World Cup preparations have been brought forward a month and, as a result, I will be unable to spend eight weeks in Australia as planned on rugby league.

"I feel Wigan need a more experienced rugby league head coach than myself to give the club and the people of Wigan the best team possible.

"The Wigan deal I recently received is very favourable to all other offers I have had so far. For me, this is not about money, this is about Wigan Warriors getting the best man for the job which, at the moment, I feel is not me."

Wigan chairman Ian Lenagan admitted his surprise at the news, adding: "[Edwards] clearly feels that he is not the best man to take the team forward currently and I have to respect and accept this.

"Like every Wiganer, I wanted Shaun to lead the team and this very honest admission has taken me by surprise. I have always admired Shaun and I wish him well with whatever he does next."

Rhys Priestland has cancelled plans to quit Bath at the end of the season, instead signing a new two-year contract with the Premiership club.

Both player and club had announced in January that the Wales international would be leaving following the conclusion of the 2018-19 campaign, with Bath reportedly looking at alternative options.

Handre Pollard, Aaron Cruden and Gareth Anscombe were all linked with moves.

But no deal for a replacement was agreed and Bath have retained Priestland, who joined the club from Scarlets in 2015 and has since made 74 appearances.

Bath director of rugby Todd Blackadder said: "It is no secret that we have been looking at a couple of specific options. However, this has never diminished the faith we have in Rhys.

"He is an incredibly respected member of our group and we know he will continue to commit to our future direction and help us achieve the success we are all striving for.

"We believe we are all building something special here at the club and Rhys has already been and continues to be a huge part of that."

Priestland has 50 caps for his country, although his last appearance for Wales was in November 2017.

Crystal Palace goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey will not face punishment over a social media post in which he made an alleged Nazi salute, the Football Association (FA) has announced.

Wales international Hennessey denied making the gesture in a photograph on Instagram posted by his German team-mate Max Meyer in January.  

The FA said a breach of disciplinary rules had been "found not proven" by an independent regulatory commission.

In a statement on the Palace website, Hennessey said: "I'm delighted that the FA have found me not guilty of this charge. This was a genuinely innocent moment, which appeared to be something completely different when captured on camera.

"I want to state for the record that I abhor all forms of racism, fascism, antisemitism or discrimination of any kind."

Cardiff Blues flanker Josh Navidi is out for the rest of the season but the Wales flanker will be fit for the Rugby World Cup after undergoing surgery on a dislocated elbow.

Navidi suffered the damage early in the Blues' Pro14 victory over the Scarlets last month.

The forward is expected to be out for between 10 and 12 weeks, ruling him out of the rest of the play-off chasing Blues' campaign.

Navidi, outstanding in Wales' Grand Slam triumph, is not in danger of missing the World Cup in Japan - which starts in September.

Blues head coach John Mulvihill said: "Josh dislocated his elbow in a bit of friendly fire, which was unfortunate. He's had surgery and will be right to go for the World Cup camps.

"He'll be out for up to three months but will be able to return to running fairly early in the rehab process and maintain his conditioning under the guidance of our first class medical and strength and conditioning teams. 

"He will be refreshed, which will be really good for him going into the camp."

 

 

Leigh Halfpenny feared concussion issues were set to end his career before the Wales full-back was cleared to return for the Scarlets in February.  

Halfpenny was out for three months after suffering a head injury during a Test victory over Australia in November.  

The British and Irish Lion thought he may have to retire due to the damage suffered against the Wallabies.

"If I'm being honest it did," the 30-year-old said when asked if it had crossed his mind that he may have to quit.  

"There was a point where I was constantly having headaches and was trying to do something on the bike or jogging and my head would be pounding from it."  

He added: "You were thinking, 'when is this going to end?' It was a tough one. I'm delighted to be over it."  

Halfpenny knows he faces a battle to earn a Wales recall after Warren Gatland's side completed a Six Nations Grand Slam.  

"The back three in the Six Nations were absolutely outstanding and there's a lot of competition for places in the back three," Halfpenny said.  

"It's about putting in the hard work."

Aaron Ramsey has recovered from a thigh injury and could feature in Arsenal's Premier League clash against Newcastle United. 

The 28-year-old – who has signed a pre-contract agreement to join Juventus at the end of the season – pulled out of Wales' squad ahead of the Euro 2020 qualifier against Slovakia after injuring his left thigh. 

However, Arsenal have confirmed that he is back in full training and could play some part against Rafael Benitez's side at Emirates Stadium on Monday.

Ramsey has been joined by Nacho Monreal, who missed the club's training camp in Dubai during the international break due to a calf injury. 

Lucas Torreira will miss the game through suspension, while Hector Bellerin, Rob Holding and Danny Welbeck all remain sidelined with long-term injuries. 

Ryan Giggs hailed the blend of youth and experience that helped Wales earn a 1-0 win over Slovakia in the opening game of their European 2020 qualifier. 

Daniel James' goal after five minutes at Cardiff City Stadium proved to be decisive and the 21-year-old winger was the stand-out player throughout an afternoon on which Wales were worthy winners against Pavel Hapal's men.

While Gareth Bale was a closely marked man, James thrived on the space afforded to him and fellow youngsters David Brooks and Harry Wilson, who were also impressive. 

Giggs was satisfied after seeing his faith in his young players repaid, while the likes of Bale, Joe Allen and substitute Ashley Williams helped were on hand to add a little extra know-how.

"There were so many outstanding performances and we dug in at the end to get that clean sheet," Giggs told Sky Sports.

"In the first half we showed real composure. We rode our luck a little bit in the second half and I thought we could have scored a few more in the first but some of the play was fantastic, paired with great determination.

"We have got a great group of older players and younger players. We have got a lot of talent in the squad too so we will always create chances.

"It wasn't easy at the end but Ashley Williams came on to see us home and give us that experience."

Bale said Giggs' young charges have bought into the ethos that helped Wales reach Euro 2016, and underlined the importance of staying strong in defence.

"Everyone put in a shift," said the Real Madrid forward. "That's what we're used to now, the minimum requirement is you give 100 per cent.

"All the lads showed that – even the younger ones who weren't in the last campaigns.

"Even before the Euros and in the Euros, we built on a good solid defence and the whole team works hard together in units and we know we're always going to nick a goal. Today it was Dan and it was a great strike.

"It's what we needed. In the second half we came under a lot of pressure but we started the game well, got the early goal, and when we shut up shop we know how to do it."

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