Mike Forshaw and Alex King join Warren Gatland’s Wales coaching staff

Mike Forshaw has left Sale to become Wales’ new defence coach with Alex King returning to the set-up to complete Warren Gatland’s backroom staff ahead of the Guinness Six Nations.

Gatland, who was parachuted in by the Welsh Rugby Union after the sacking of Wayne Pivac last month, has hired King and Forshaw as replacements for Stephen Jones and Gethin Jenkins.

Former England fly-half King briefly held the attack coach role in 2017 and played under Gatland at Wasps.

Alex King
Alex King is back in the Wales set-up (David Davies/PA)

Forshaw, meanwhile, has been prised away from Gallagher Premiership outfit Sale, who have enjoyed a fine season to date and boast the best defensive record in the English top flight.

Gatland said: “I’m delighted that Alex and Mike are joining the Wales coaching team.

“They both have plenty of experience as players and coaches, which will be hugely important to the development of the squad through the Guinness Six Nations and beyond. I’d like to thank Sale Sharks for their cooperation in the process and allowing Mike to take up this position with Wales.

“We have less than a month to our first Six Nations match against the number one side in the world which, as I’ve said before, is a great challenge to have first up and one that we are very excited about as a coaching group.

“Having our first match this Championship at home will be very special and I’m really looking forward to getting back out at Principality Stadium in front of the best fans in rugby.”

Warren Gatland
Warren Gatland now has his coaching staff in place for his Wales return (Ben Birchall/PA)

Ex-rugby league player Forshaw expressed his excitement at working with Gatland.

“I’m really looking forward to the challenge ahead. I can’t wait to meet the players and start working with a really talented squad,” he said.

“I played in Cardiff in 2003 and it’s an incredible place to play rugby. I want to get these lads defending with real energy and I want them to be excited about their defensive work.

“If we can do that then I really think we can take some big steps as a team and achieve something special, because the talent is there.

“I had never met Warren before but he’s obviously one of the game’s great coaches. I spoke to him on the phone and I can’t wait to start working with him and getting to know him personally too.

“This is probably one of the only jobs that I would have left Sale for but I know that I’m leaving a club that’s going in the right direction. It’s a really special club and I’m excited to see what this group can achieve this season and beyond.”

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King, who lists Clermont, Northampton, Montpellier and Gloucester among his former employers, added: “I am immensely proud to be part of the Wales coaching team again.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my previous time working with the squad. There are some talented players in Wales, so I am really excited by this new opportunity and can’t wait to get stuck in.”

Wales begin their Six Nations campaign at home to Ireland on February 4.