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Dublin: 5°C Monday 1 March 2021

Wales rocked ahead of Ireland clash as defence coach quits

Byron Hayward has left his role just five days ahead of the Nations Cup meeting with Ireland.

Byron Howard, file photo.
Byron Howard, file photo.
Image: Ben Birchall

WALES DEFENCE COACH Byron Hayward has left his role with immediate effect.

Hayward leaves his post just five days before Wales start their Autumn Nations campaign against Ireland in Dublin, with the Welsh Rugby Union saying the decision was made by “mutual agreement”.

The former Wales U20 coach, 51, previously worked with Wales boss Wayne Pivac at the Scarlets region and was appointed to his senior national team role alongside him in 2019.

“I would like to thank Byron for all his hard work with Wales and thank him for his honesty in recent meetings,” Pivac said in a WRU statement.

“I have worked alongside Byron for six and a half years, he is a dedicated coach that has had great success in his career.

“On reflection of the last campaign it was mutually decided that the best way forward for Wales and for Byron is for him to step down from his role.

“I, on behalf of the squad and management, would like to wish Byron all the best for the future.

“In the short-term, for the upcoming four matches, the existing coaching team will manage the defence based on the foundations already put in place.

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“We will then look to replace Byron on a full-time basis with an announcement in due course.”

Wales head into the new Autumn Nations Cup tournament on the back of a four-year results low and their worst Six Nations campaign since 2007.

Pivac’s side won only once in the delayed championship which has just finished, and have lost five on the bounce since a February victory over Italy.

Hayward said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with Wales and it was an honour to coach my country.

“As I have always said from day one, the team comes first and upon reflection of the last campaign with Wayne we felt it was best for me to step aside.

“When I took the role last year I wouldn’t have planned to be leaving as the squad prepare to start the new international season, I believe it is the right decision for myself and the squad as they enter a new campaign.

“I would like to wish Wayne and the squad all the best going forward and I will be fully supporting them.”

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