Wayne Pivac is ready for the ax as Wales make a sensational return for former coach Warren Gatland after disastrous return of three wins in 2022 – but any move could cost at least £1 MILLION
- The Welsh Rugby Union is to replace Wayne Pivac with Warren Gatland as coach
- The move could cost £1m, but Pivac’s reign still looks set to come to an end
- Wales have won just three games in 2022 and lost to Australia on Saturday
- Gatland would return as coach after previously bossing Wales from 2007-2019
Sacking Wayne Pivac and replacing him with Warren Gatland will cost at least £1m, but that increasingly looks like the direction the Welsh rugby union will take.
There is a growing expectation in Welsh rugby circles that Pivac’s reign as head coach will end this week after he presided over a year that included just three wins.
Gatland, who was Wales boss between 2007 and 2019 before making way for Pivac, is the leading contender to make a sensational return if terms of a deal can be agreed.
The Welsh Rugby Union are expected to sack coach Wayne Pivac despite costing £1m
Pivac’s future will be one of the central topics of discussion at a WRU board meeting today (MON) where the first order of business will be to appoint a new chairman.
Should WRU boss Steve Phillips decide to replace Pivac on the back of a torrid 12 months that have included humiliating defeats by Italy and Georgia, there will be a significant cost involved. Pivac’s contract runs until after next year’s World Cup in France, so removing him, as well as potentially members of his backroom team, would not come cheap.
Nor would Gatland, who would also probably want to bring in new assistant coaches of his own if he took the role.
Warren Gatland is the man who could replace Pivac as the new boss of the Welsh rugby side
But Sportsmail understands that while paying a sum of around £1m is far from an ideal scenario for the WRU, there is a growing understanding that it is time to take action.
The WRU confirmed last night that it will undertake a pre-planned and regular review after the autumn.
Should Gatland be appointed, it will be on a short-term deal until next year’s World Cup. Wales threw away a 21-point lead in the final 23 minutes of Saturday’s meeting with Australia as they somehow pulled defeat from the jaws of victory against an injury-ravaged Wallaby outfit.
Pivac’s side had played their best rugby of the autumn and led 34-13 before imploding after losing captain Justin Tipuric and Ryan Elias to yellow cards. It will probably cost Pivac his job.
Wales have had a disappointing 2022 where they have only tasted victory on three occasions
“Without respect to Georgia, who are a rising power in the world game, this result was extremely disappointing,” Phillips said. “We expected a significant improvement against Australia and there was an obvious positive reaction. But again, of course we’re disappointed not to have won that game. We will now review the campaign in its entirety as we always do.
“Following the conclusion of this review, we will act on the outcome as we continue to work towards the now short-term goal of success at the 2023 Rugby World Cup.”
Gatland is the only real candidate who will be available to answer Wales’ SOS. Another New Zealander in Scott Robertson, La Rochelle’s former Ireland fly-half Ronan O’Gara and Leicester Premier League winner Steve Borthwick are all admired by Test rugby’s leading nations.
The Georgia players celebrate beating Wales last weekend in another defeat for Pivac’s Wales
But that trio are also all shortlisted to succeed Eddie Jones as England boss, and are believed to be uninterested in a short-term role with Wales. Regardless, Phillips knows he must act.
As he clings to his job, Pivac yesterday left a planned mission to France with members of his coaching bill for what had been a planned reconnaissance mission ahead of next year’s World Cup in 2023. Pivac has stayed in Wales to ensure the review process can get started.
However, the reality is that he is unlikely to still be in charge when the tournament comes around.
Gatland was manager of the Wales national side from 2007 to 2019 and could make a return
Wales know they need to secure a potential replacement for Pivac quickly. A sub-committee of the WRU board met last week to discuss the national coach’s position.
Rob Howley and Steve Tandy have been linked with possible assistant coaching roles alongside Gatland should he return to Welsh rugby’s top job.
But with Tandy employed by Scotland and doing a good job as their defense coach, it is understood that he is likely to remain part of Gregor Townsend’s set-up.
Gatland and Tandy worked together on the British & Irish Lions tour of South Africa in 2021, but the Scottish Rugby Union don’t want to part with one of their prized bums