Wales appoint another Kiwi to replace Gatland

International
AFP
by AFP

Wayne Pivac will coach Wales when fellow New Zealander Warren Gatland's 12 year reign comes to an end following the 2019 Rugby World Cup, the Wales Rugby Union announced Monday.

Pivac's successful tenure at Welsh region Scarlets -- last season he guided them to their first European Cup semi-final in a decade -- had placed him as favourite to fill the vacancy.

Pivac, who also coached Scarlets to a thumping victory over Irish powerhouses Munster to land the 2017 Celtic League title, saw off two fellow New Zealanders -- two-time Super Rugby winning coach Dave Rennie, who is presently in charge of Glasgow Warriors, and Scott Robetson.

"The current Scarlets boss will take over from Warren Gatland, who is scheduled to step down after the 2019 Rugby World Cup when he will have served more than 12 years at the helm," read the WRU statement posted on their website.

Martyn Phillips, chief executive of the WRU, said that there should be no complaints after a rigorous selection process which took two years to complete.

"We have secured the best man for the job and we have done so rigorously and decisively to the collective benefit of all involved in Welsh rugby," said Phillips.

"Both Wayne and Warren and their coaching teams, our international players, supporters and everyone at the Scarlets now have clarity and there is no underestimating the positive benefit to be gained from having the time to plan properly for the future.

Warren Gatland has named his Wales squad. Photo: Getty Images"We have avoided the feeding frenzy that can come at the end of a World Cup 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."

Pivac -- like All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen a former policeman -- will continue as Scarlets boss until the end of the 2018-19 season and will not officially come under WRU employment until July 2019, with Gatland leading Wales into the World Cup.

Pivac, 55, who will be the 23rd Wales national coach since David Nash was appointed head coach in 1967, said he would do as much as possible to protect the legacy of Gatland.

"It's both a huge honour and a privilege to have been asked to be the next Wales coach," said Pivac, whose previous experience at national level is with Fiji from 2004-07.

"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."

Gatland is a two-time British and Irish Lions head coach, winning one series in Australia and tying with the All Blacks last year. He coached Wales to three Six Nations titles during his reign, including two Grand Slams, though they have now gone five years without winning the championship.

The 54-year-old's best showing at a World Cup was in an unlucky 9-8 loss to France in the 2011 semi-finals, having played most of the match with 14 players after captain Sam Warburton was sent off in the 19th minute.