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Gatland hopes incoming Pivac can keep Wales out of the 'doldrums'

The outgoing head coach hopes to see the Welsh winning Six Nations titles in years to come.

WARREN GATLAND SAID he’s hopeful incoming head coach Wayne Pivac can ensure Wales remain competitive in the coming seasons.

Gatland’s 12-year tenure as Wales boss ended with defeat to New Zealand in the World Cup bronze final in Tokyo tonight, but the 56-year-old can reflect on a successful time in charge.

new-zealand-v-wales-2019-rugby-world-cup-bronze-final-tokyo-stadium Gatland salutes the crowd in Tokyo after his final game with Wales. Source: David Davies

Gatland’s reign included three Grand Slams and two World Cup semi-finals and he hopes his fellow New Zealander, Pivac, who has been appointed as Gatland’s successor, will enjoy similar success. 

Pivac will be assisted by attack coach Stephen Jones, who joined Wales earlier than planned during this World Cup after Rob Howley was sent home over alleged betting offences.

Meanwhile, Jonathan Humphreys is coming on board as forwards coach to replace Robin McBryde, who is joining Leinster after 13 years with Wales.

Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards is also exiting to move to France, with former Scarlets assistant Byron Hayward set to fill Edwards’ shoes.

Pivac, Jones and Hayward helped Scarlets to the 2017 Pro14 title and are now tasked with ensuring Wales stay competitive at the top level of the game. 

“I hope that what we have achieved in the last 12 years, they continue to build on that because what we have done and what we have achieved, it would break my heart if Wales went back into the doldrums,” said Gatland after his team’s 40-17 defeat to the All Blacks.

“I just want them to continue. It has been good for Stephen to see how things are run, an opportunity for the next group to come in and improve on what we have created. 

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“We know how tough it is to win the Six Nations so not to be too greedy but it’s performing well and get a few Six Nations titles along the way and be as competitive as we can against top nations.”

warren-gatland-before-the-game Gatland has enjoyed a successful 12-year tenure. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

While Gatland has his critics, his coaching CV is impressive and he now moves home to New Zealand to take up a role as head coach of the Chiefs in Super Rugby before leading the Lions to South Africa in 2021.

As he bows out as Wales boss, he underlined that focusing on ensuring players are happy has been central to the success in the past 12 years.

“What we have done and created has been special,” said Gatland.

“We have always spoken about how important family is. It’s not the rugby, it’s putting the family first.

“If things are right at home – for the players, it is not a normal job, it is weekends, public holidays and Christmas – if things are right at home, I get a better product on the training pitch. We haven’t talked about it, we have lived it. It has given us a lot of returns.”

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Murray Kinsella  / Reports from Tokyo

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