Wayne Pivac sacked as Wales turn to Warren Gatland

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Wayne Pivac has been sacked as head coach of Wales, who turn to Warren Gatland in a sensational return for the New Zealander less than a year before the 2023 World Cup.

Pivac’s time with Wales comes to an end after just three wins in 2022, including damaging defeats to both Italy and Georgia at home.

And now Gatland is back on a long-term deal to the 2027 World Cup in Australia.

“This is an opportunity to achieve something with a talented group of players in a country so passionate about rugby,” Gatland said, in a statement released by the WRU.

“Our immediate priority is obviously the 2023 Guinness Six Nations and next year’s Rugby World Cup.

“There is little time for sentiment. Professional sport is all about preparation, values and results.

“There will be new challenges, as there always is with a change in head coach, but for me the environment, the players and their families will always come first.

“We must prepare to the best of our ability in the time available. We will value and respect each other, we will work hard and, if we get this right together, performances and results will follow.”

While WRU CEO Steve Phillips added: “This is one of the toughest calls to make in sport, but the review process has reached its conclusion and we have acted quickly and efficiently in the very best interests of our national team.

“Ultimately we are in the results business and we have agreed with Wayne that the current trajectory for Wales is not where we want it to be and we thank him sincerely for his time, enthusiasm, diligence and effort, which is unquestioned, as head coach over the last three years.”

Gatland, previously spent 12 years in charge, delivered four Six Nations titles and three Grand Slams and will now revitalise Welsh rugby as head coach on a long-term deal.

The 59-year-old, who was director of rugby at Super Rugby side Chiefs, provides much-needed hope for Wales ahead of next year’s World Cup in France.

Gatland had been linked with a similar role at England, with head coach Eddie Jones also under pressure with the Red Rose struggling throughout the autumn internationals.