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Pivac to take over from Gatland as Wales head coach after 2019 World Cup

He will remain in charge of the Scarlets next season.

The Kiwi has enjoyed a hugely successful time in charge of the Scarlets.
The Kiwi has enjoyed a hugely successful time in charge of the Scarlets.
Image: Alex Davidson/INPHO

WAYNE PIVAC, THE KIWI who masterminded Scarlets’ stunning Pro12 title last season, has been named as the next Wales head coach, succeeding Warren Gatland at the end of the 2019 World Cup.

Pivac will remain in charge of Scarlets for the 2018/19 season but will leave the Welsh region to officially come under WRU employment in July 2019, it was confirmed this afternoon.

The 55-year-old has enjoyed remarkable success during his time with Scarlets and after guiding the club to a first-ever Pro12 crown in 2017, led them to the Champions Cup semi-finals and Pro14 final last term.

Pivac emerged as the outstanding candidate to succeed Gatland, who announced his intention to stand down from the position following the culmination of the World Cup in Japan after more than 12 years at the helm of Welsh rugby.

The appointment of Pivac, who previously held roles with Fiji and the Auckland Blues before moving to Wales in 2014, comes after a lengthy and meticulous process undertaken by WRU chief executive Martyn Phillips and chairman Gareth Davies.

Two other New Zealanders — Crusaders coach Scott Robertson and Glasgow Warriors boss Dave Rennie — were strongly linked with the role.

The timing of the announcement, they say, will put any speculation to bed and help Pivac and the Scarlets prepare for the forthcoming season, as well as allowing Gatland to prepare his squad for their World Cup campaign.

“It’s both a huge honour and a privilege to have been asked to be the next Wales coach,” Pivac said.

“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.

“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.

Wayne Pivac during the post match press conference Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

“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.

“I’ll do everything in my power to reward the two men alongside me here today (Gareth Davies and Martyn Phillips) who have put their faith in me, but also to live up to the expectations of the hugely passionate and knowledgeable rugby loving Welsh public.

“It will be an almighty challenge, but one that I’m more than ready for and one that I will relish.”

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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.”

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