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Warren Gatland makes shock return to Wales hot seat after Wayne Pivac is fired

Warren Gatland makes shock return to Wales hot seat after Wayne Pivac is fired

London – Warren Gatland was dramatically drafted in for a second spell as Wales coach on Monday, as he replaced the sacked Wayne Pivac less than a year out from the World Cup.

The Welsh Rugby Union said Gatland will take charge of Wales for the 2023 Six Nations and at the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France, "with the ability to go through the next World Cup cycle up to and including Australia 2027".

Pivac's exit was confirmed following a WRU review of Wales' Autumn Nations Series campaign that included a shock home defeat against Georgia.

Wales won just 13 of 34 Tests under 60-year-old Pivac — though he guided them to the 2021 Six Nations title — after he succeeded fellow New Zealander Gatland following the 2019 World Cup.

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Gatland's first spell in charge, from 2008-19 saw him preside over one of Wales' most successful eras, with the team winning four Six Nations titles, including three Grand Slams, as well as reaching two World Cup semi-finals.

"This is one of the toughest calls to make in sport," said WRU chief executive Steve Phillips in a statement.

He added: "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."

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The 59-year-old Gatland, also a former British and Irish Lions head coach, will return to Wales before Christmas from his current post in New Zealand with Super Rugby side the Chiefs.

"In Warren we are bringing in one of the very best coaches in the international game," said Phillips.

AFP

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