Wayne Pivac: Scarlets chief to succeed Warren Gatland as Wales coach

Scarlets head coach Wayne Pivac will succeed Warren Gatland as Wales coach on a four-year deal.

Gatland is stepping down after the 2019 World Cup in Japan and will be replaced by his fellow New Zealander.

Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) chairman Gareth Davies and chief executive Martyn Phillips announced the appointment at a scheduled press conference on Monday.

“We have secured the best man for the job and we have done so rigorously and decisively,” said Phillips.

The 55-year-old Pivac hopes to “protect” the legacy left by Gatland.

He added: “What Martyn Phillips has achieved here is fairly unique in world sport, I have a further 12 months to dedicate my time to the Scarlets and, in the background, the necessary plans and preparations can be put in place to ensure a smooth transition after the World Cup.

“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.”

Phillips added: “There is no underestimating the positive benefit to be gained from having the time to plan properly for the future.

“We have avoided the feeding frenzy that can come at the end of a RWC year and we have been meticulous in ensuring we have someone of the talent, experience, charisma and rugby acumen to do the very best possible job for Welsh rugby.

“The handover process is something we will plan carefully and commence in detail next summer.”

Two more New Zealanders – Glasgow’s Dave Rennie and Crusaders’ Scott Robinson – had also been linked with the role.

Gatland backs successor

Pivac will start working for the Welsh governing body in July 2019 and take over when Gatland steps down after the global tournament, which will be played in autumn that year.

Until he takes up the role, which runs until after the 2023 World Cup in France, Pivac will remain in charge of Scarlets.

He continues the trend of Wales having Kiwis as head coaches.

Previous incumbents Graham Henry and Steve Hansen went on to guide the All Blacks to World Cup wins in 2011 and 2015 respectively.

Gatland said: “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.”

Return to Test level

It is a return to international coaching for Pivac, who was Fiji boss for three years from 2004 to 2007.

He then returned to New Zealand with the Auckland provincial team and was initially appointed assistant to Scarlets coach Simon Easterby in May 2014.

But before the 2014-15 campaign began, Easterby left to become Ireland forwards coach and Pivac took charge.

His achievements include guiding Scarlets to the then Pro12 title in 2017 and being losing Pro14 finalists to Leinster last season.

Scarlets also reached the European Champions Cup semi-finals in 2017-18, again losing to Leinster in Dublin.

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