Wayne Pivac to succeed Warren Gatland as Wales head coach in 2019

Wayne Pivac 5/5/2018
Wayne Pivac has been announced as the man to fill Warren Gatland’s shoes as Wales head coach on a four-year deal.

Wayne Pivac has been announced as the man to fill Warren Gatland’s shoes as Wales head coach on a four-year deal.

The Scarlets boss will take over when Gatland steps down after the 2019 Six Nations and the Rugby World Cup in Japan, and will remain at Scarlets for the entirety of next season.

Gatland has led Wales to two Six Nations Grand Slam titles in 2007 and 2012, a Championship victory in 2013,  and a World Cup semi-final in the 11 years he’s been in charge.

He also headed up two British & Irish Lions Tours – beating Australia before a 1-1 draw in New Zealand in 2017, as well as spending time as head coach of Ireland between 1998 and 2001.

Pivac meanwhile led the Scarlets to the Guinness PRO14 title in 2017 for the first time in over a decade, before again taking them to the final this season where they lost to Leinster, along with a European Champions Cup semi-final.

The Kiwi has vast experience coaching all over the world, from 2004 to 2007 he was head coach of Fiji, winning the Pacific Tri-Nations in his first year at the helm before helping coach the Fijian Sevens to the 2005 Rugby World Cup Sevens title.

He also took charge of Takapuna, North Harbour and Auckland in his native New Zealand, which saw him work with former Welsh head coach Graham Henry and current All Blacks boss Steve Hansen.

Following the pattern of Kiwi head coaches of the nation, Pivac admitted he has a lot resting on his shoulders after the work of Gatland and Welsh Rugby Union chief executive Martyn Phillips.

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.

“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.”

Welsh Rugby Union chairman Gareth Davies praised the work Pivac has done at Scarlets and believes the 55-year-old has everything that it takes to bring glory to Wales.

Davies said: “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, it has been more than two years in the making and we were both impressed by Wayne throughout and by the variety of his accomplishments during a lengthy career in coaching.

“Wayne will bring the holistic approach to the job we are looking for and will be immediately ready to pick up where Warren leaves off – he offers the complete package and we are delighted to have secured his services.”