Buzz Magazine was invited to the Principality Stadium as the WRU announced Warren Gatland’s successor. Charlie Cottrell was there to take it all in.
It has today been announced that Llanelli Scarlets coach Wayne Pivac will succeed Warren Gatland in his role as the head coach of the Welsh national rugby team, having penned a four-year deal with the WRU.
Pivac, who has been at Llanelli’s helm since 2014, will remain in his position as coach of the Scarlets until Gatland departs next summer. The 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan will be Gatland’s final farewell to a role that has seen him guide Wales to three Six Nations titles, including two Grand Slams.
Due to become the fourth New Zealander to take the reigns as the spearhead of Welsh rugby, Pivac’s recent successes made him a favourable candidate from the outset of the appointment process. WRU chairman Gareth Davies said of Pivac: “You only have to look at the way the Scarlets play to get excited about the prospect of Wayne coaching Wales.”
Having guided the Scarlets to a Guinness Pro-12 trophy in 2017, Pivac has stated that he is still wholly focused on his current role, despite today’s announcement. Speaking at today’s WRU press conference, he said: “My job now will be to continue with the Scarlets, and nothing will change there for the next twelve months. I will be in a supporting role to Warren, as the other regional teams are.”
Speaking to Buzz Magazine, Pivac was keen to express how he would be relishing the opportunity to make the step up into the international fray. “I think it’s an exciting challenge. I’ve had a taste of it, having spent four years in West Wales where there’s a quarter of the rugby population, and I’ve enjoyed it. It keeps you on your toes, it reminds you of how passionate the people are, and what you represent, and it just ensures that you’ll always do the best you can.”
Often we see high-profile appointments such as these made a little rashly, with one coach having failed in their endeavour and another quickly brought in to start anew. The meticulous process that has gone into this appointment confirms how intent the WRU board were in taking their time to ensure they had arrived at the right decision. WRU chief executive, Martyn Phillips, said: “At moments of crisis in professional sport, it’s easy to perhaps make those wrong decisions. There is no underestimating the positive benefit to be gained from having the time to plan properly for the future.”
Strolling onto the hallowed Principality Stadium turf, Pivac strikes a confident figure; kitted out in a fresh WRU polo, he appears wholly comfortable, a man undaunted at a task that, in his case, is surely of an unparalleled magnitude. No doubt the nation will await his arrival with a sense of trepidation, of anticipation, and of high hopes. Though the filling of Warren Gatland’s shoes will be no mean feat, the fresh face of Wayne Pivac could perhaps bring a new vigour to the Welsh camp – one that, maybe, could see them finally overturn the international rugby dominance upheld for so long by those down under.