International Rugby

Pivac to succeed Gatland as Wales coach

The Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) has confirmed Wayne Pivac will succeed Warren Gatland as head coach of Wales following the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Pivac has enjoyed notable success with the Scarlets, winning the Pro12 last year before reaching the final – and the last four of the European Champions Cup – in 2018.

He has now been chosen to succeed fellow New Zealander Gatland, who took charge of Wales in November 2007 but had long since confirmed he would stand down after next year’s World Cup in Japan.

Pivac, who has formerly coached Fiji at international level, was one of three New Zealanders strongly linked with the role, along with Crusaders coach Scott Robertson and Glasgow Warriors boss Dave Rennie.

The WRU said his appointment was the result of a “two-year process” undertaken by chief executive Martyn Phillips and chairman Gareth Davies.

Pivac will remain in charge of the Scarlets for the 2018-19 season before officially coming under the employment of the WRU next July.

The incoming coach said of Gatland: “I know I’m following in the footsteps of someone who is held in extremely high regard, not only by the Welsh public, but also by the players who have played under him and I will be doing my best to protect the legacy which Warren Gatland, with the help of those players, will inevitably leave behind.

“To be able to complete the process this far in advance helps the Scarlets, helps Wales and affords me the luxury of time in which to prepare in earnest for one of the biggest jobs in the world game.”

WRU chairman Davies added: “You only have to look at the way the Scarlets play and their recent achievements to get excited about the prospect of Wayne Pivac coaching Wales.

“We have undertaken a hugely thorough process to make this appointment… and we were both impressed by Wayne throughout and by the variety of his accomplishments during a lengthy career in coaching.”

Wales have won two Grand Slams and reached a World Cup semi-final under Gatland, who said: “I would like to congratulate Wayne on the appointment and the honour of being named head coach.

“Martyn and Gareth have been meticulous in their search and once they decided who the best man for the job was, they have signed him up, putting any speculavion to rest.

“From a Wales squad perspective, that’s all we can ask for. We can now focus on the challenge ahead and continue to build for RWC 2019 without any distractions.

“The World Cup is a key focus and Wayne’s early appointment will help us keep that focus. Additionally I’m determined to ensure that Wayne is given the best possible opportunity to succeed in this job when he starts after the World Cup and I will do everything I can to help him.

“With the announcement now public we can plan properly and ensure smooth transition to benefit the future of Welsh rugby.” News wire is powered by opta

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