Wayne Pivac to succeed Warren Gatland as Wales coach after World Cup

Scarlets' Wayne Pivac will succeed Warren Gatland as Wales coach, the Welsh Rugby Union announced today.

Gatland will step down after the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan next year following a 12-year spell in charge.

Pivac will sign a four-year deal with the WRU -- officially starting from July 2019 -- after leading a shortlist that reportedly included Glasgow Warriors' Dave Rennie.

"It's a huge honour and a privilege to be given the opportunity to coach Wales," Pivac said at a press conference in Cardiff.

"I want to continue the strong work done by Warren. I'd like to think I'll do everything I can to emulate some of the results they've got."

Pivac has transformed Scarlets' fortunes during his four years as head coach in Llanelli, winning the Pro 12 title in 2017 and reaching the semifinals of the European Champions Cup last season.

The appointment sees a return to international coaching for the New Zealander, having previously been in charge of Fiji between 2004 and 2007.

"When I first came to Wales I was totally focussed on doing a role with the Scarlets," the 55-year-old said.

"I had a taste of international rugby with Fiji and thoroughly enjoyed that. I've really enjoyed the experience both in and out of the rugby environment in Wales. For me it was a no-brainer."

Pivac will be surrounded by familiar faces when he does eventually become Wales coach. His Scarlets players made up 13 of Wales' 31-man squad for their recent internationals against South Africa and Argentina. He will remain Scarlets coach for the entirety of the 2018/19 season.

"In Wayne Pivac, we have secured the best man for the job," WRU chief executive Martyn Phillips said.

"We have avoided the feeding frenzy that can come at the end of a Rugby World Cup year and we have been meticulous in ensuring we have someone of the talent, experience, charisma and rugby acumen to do the very best possible job for Welsh rugby.

"The handover process is something we will plan carefully and commence in detail next summer."

Gatland will become the longest serving coach in the history of Welsh rugby when he does step down following the World Cup in Japan.

The 54-year-old, who also held positions within the British and Irish Lions during his tenure, has been in charge since 2007 and will leave behind a strong legacy, including two Six Nations Grand Slams and a World Cup semifinal appearance in 2011.

"I would like to congratulate Wayne on the appointment and the honour of being named head coach," Gatland said.

"With the announcement now public we can plan properly and ensure smooth transition to benefit the future of Welsh rugby."