Warren Gatland confirmed as Wales' new head coach as Wayne Pivac sacked

Warren Gatland has officially replaced Wayne Pivac as the new head coach of Welsh rugby. Credit: PA

Warren Gatland has been officially announced as the new head coach of Welsh rugby.

The Welsh Rugby Union confirmed Wayne Pivac’s departure following their review of Wales’ Autumn Nations Series campaign that included a home defeat against Georgia and blowing a 34-13 lead against the Wallabies.

Wales lost 20 of their 34 Tests and drew one under Pivac’s direction since he succeeded his fellow New Zealander Gatland following the 2019 World Cup.

Despite his departure, Pivac has left some quality players for Gatland including try machine Louis Rees-Zammit, lock Will Rowlands and Rio Dyer who scored a try on his international debut against New Zealand.

Gatland now makes an extraordinary return to the post he held between 2007 and 2019, during which time Wales won four Six Nations titles, including three Grand Slams, reached two World Cup semi-finals and briefly headed the world rankings.

During his 12-year reign, Gatland was by far Wales' longest-serving coach, winning 85 of the 149 games since he took charge - a success rate of almost 58%. That figure climbed to over 70% in the World Cup, alongside a further 42 wins out 60 games at the Six Nations.

In honour of his previous work with the Welsh side, Gate 4 at the Principality Stadium was named after him - now known as "Gatland's Gate".

Wales won just 13 of 34 Tests under Pivac. Credit: PA

The returning boss will leave New Zealand-based side the Chiefs, where he was director of rugby, with immediate effect and return to Wales before Christmas.

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

“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”, he added.

Discussing the new appointment, WRU chief executive Steve Phillips explained: “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.

“In Warren, we are bringing in one of the very best coaches in the international game. We know him well and, most importantly, he knows us well too. We are extremely excited about this latest chapter for Wales and Warren Gatland, and I know the feeling is mutual.

“He will undoubtedly be able to make an immediate impact, just as he did when he joined us for the first time in 2008.

“But it has also been important to both parties to ensure we get absolute maximum gain out of the return of such an experienced and highly-regarded individual.

“It is for this reason that we are particularly pleased to have been able to secure Warren’s services for the next few years with the ability to go to the 2027 Rugby World Cup.

“This appointment is no quick fix, nor sticking plaster. It is part of our long-term planning for the game in Wales.”