Who is Mike Forshaw? Everything to know about Wales' new coach and Gatland's latest recruit

Rugby League veteran, Forshaw has replaced Gethin Jenkins as the man in charge of the backline. Credit: PA

Warren Gatland has announced the latest changes to his backroom staff as Mike Forshaw comes in as Wales' new defence coach.

Rugby League veteran Forshaw has replaced Gethin Jenkins as the man tasked with making Wales difficult to break down.

He joins new attack coach Alex King as the final additions to Gatland's coaching team, with preparations for the Six Nations about to step up.

Forshaw joins new attack coach Alex King as the final additions to Gatland's coaching team ahead of the Six Nations. Credit: PA

Forshaw joins Gatland's staff after ten years as defence coach of Premiership team Sale Sharks.

The 53-year-old is credited with transforming them into one of the best defensive units in the English game.

He enjoyed a 17-year playing career in rugby league representing Wigan Warriors, Wakefield Trinity and Leeds Rhinos while he also enjoyed a short stint in rugby union with Saracens.

Fans will hope that Gatland's changes will mean improvements from last year's Six Nations tournament which included a shock defeat to Italy. Credit: PA

Forshaw was born and brought up in the North of England and began his career with hometown club Wigan Warriors. Many people have compared him with Wales' former defence coach Shaun Edwards, who also hails from Wigan.

Some pundits tipped Rugby League legend Edwards to reunite with Gatland after his successful stint as defence coach when they won three Six Nations titles together.

King returns as attack coach after he temporarily held the position in 2017 when Gatland was with the British and Irish Lions.

He replaces Stephen Jones as he joins up with Gatland 18 years after he played under him at London Wasps.

Mike Forshaw is very much his own man but with a playing background in rugby league, comparisons will quickly be made to Shaun Edwards. Much of the Welsh rugby fan base pine for Edwards' return, however unlikely it may be, because he was so highly-regarded here.

He is locked in with France until the 2027 World Cup but Forshaw is cut from the same cloth. Both are from Wigan and both played rugby league in the same era. They will share similar principles.

Forshaw comes with pedigree, too. Sale have the best defence in the Gallagher Premiership this season and that's not to be sniffed at.

The 53-year-old will come with a hard edge and won't take nonsense but he is well-liked by players he has worked with. He might not be a familiar name in Wales but it could turn out to be a shrewd appointment by Warren Gatland.

As always, though, the proof will be in the pudding and he doesn't have long to get his feet under the table with the Six Nations kicking off on February 4.