THE current Scarlets boss will take over from Warren Gatland, who is scheduled to step down after the 2019 Rugby World Cup when he will have served more than 12 years at the helm.
Replacing the longest serving and most successful head coach in the history of the game in Wales has been a major priority for Welsh Rugby Union chief executive Martyn Phillips since Gatland confirmed his decision to move on at the end of his contract in December 2019.
Pivac’s appointment is the result of a two year process undertaken by Phillips and WRU chairman Gareth Davies, which has involved meticulous research and extensive consultation, and this announcement leaves a year-long gap ahead of his start date, by design.
The 55-year-old former Fiji and Auckland boss – and one-time coaching colleague to both Graham Henry and Steve Hansen – will remain at the 2017 Guinness Pro12 winning Scarlets for the entirety of the 2018/19 season and will only officially come under WRU employment in July 2019.
Gatland, of course, continues in exclusive charge of Wales up to and throughout the RWC, but arrangements for a smooth handover can now be planned in earnest, with the distraction of speculation entirely removed.
“In Wayne Pivac, we have secured the best man for the job and we have done so rigorously and decisively to the collective benefit of all involved in Welsh rugby,” said Phillips.
“I am extremely grateful to the Scarlets for their support of this process and their chairman, Nigel Short, in particular who has been first class throughout.
“Both Wayne and Warren and their coaching teams, our international players, supporters and everyone at the Scarlets now have clarity and there is no underestimating the positive benefit to be gained from having the time to plan properly for the future.
“We have avoided the feeding frenzy that can come at the end of a RWC 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.
“And, for the Scarlets, what coach, whether they are in Wales or anywhere around the rugby playing world, would not relish the opportunity to join a team of such rich history and proven professionalism?
“I would like to think that given the heritage of the Scarlets, their culture, passionate supporters, their track record of success and the quality of their squad that the head coach position will be one of the most sought after in rugby.
“In the meantime, it is vitally important that there are no distractions for Warren, his backroom team and his players and it is equally necessary that Wayne is able to concentrate exclusively on the Scarlets’ progression throughout the season ahead.”
Pivac will be the 23rd man to lead Wales since David Nash was appointed head coach in 1967 – a WRU panel of selectors ran the international teams before that time.
“It’s both a huge honour and a privilege to have been asked to be the next Wales coach,” said Pivac, whose impressive coaching CV includes a hat-trick of NPC titles with Auckland, before being voted New Zealand coach of the year in 2003, an international stint with Fiji – where he won the Pacific Tri-Nations (’04) and the 2005 RWC Sevens – and lifting the Guinness Pro12 trophy with the Scarlets in 2017.
“I know I’m following in the footsteps of someone who is held in extremely high regard, not only by the Welsh public, but also by the players who have played under him and I will be doing my best to protect the legacy which Warren Gatland, with the help of those players, will inevitably leave behind.
“What Martyn Phillips has achieved here is fairly unique in world sport, I have a further 12 months to dedicate my time to the Scarlets and, in the background, the necessary plans and preparations can be put in place to ensure a smooth transition after the World Cup.
“To be able to complete the process this far in advance helps the Scarlets, helps Wales and affords me the luxury of time in which to prepare in earnest for one of the biggest jobs in the world game.
“I’ll do everything in my power to reward the two men alongside me here today (Gareth Davies and Martyn Phillips) who have put their faith in me, but also to live up to the expectations of the hugely passionate and knowledgeable rugby loving Welsh public.
“It will be an almighty challenge, but one that I’m more than ready for and one that I will relish.”
WRU chairman Gareth Davies said: “You only have to look at the way the Scarlets play and their recent achievements to get excited about the prospect of Wayne Pivac coaching Wales.
“We have undertaken a hugely thorough process to make this appointment, it has been more than two years in the making and we were both impressed by Wayne throughout and by the variety of his accomplishments during a lengthy career in coaching.
“Wayne will bring the holistic approach to the job we are looking for and will be immediately ready to pick up where Warren leaves off – he offers the complete package and we are delighted to have secured his services.”
The finer details of Pivac’s transition period to Wales, succession planning at the Scarlets and the make-up of his backroom staff, will begin to be ironed out post-Wayne’s Scarlets responsibilities, with no further announcements on any of these subjects to be expected before next summer.
Pivac’s full and immediate attention will return to the Scarlets and the season ahead, with the confirmation of his appointment as the next coach of Wales being accompanied by the full backing of his current employers.
“We see Wayne’s appointment as a major and significant endorsement of the successful environment we have fostered here at the Scarlets,” said the Scarlets General Manager of Rugby Jon Daniels.
“We have been involved with this process at every stage alongside the WRU and are particularly grateful to have a full season to now work on our own succession planning for Wayne’s departure. Obviously we are sad to see him go, but we would not, for one second, have considered standing in his way when the country came calling and our focus is on ensuring his final season in charge sees him go out on a high as we continue to plan for the future.”
Gatland is also focussing on the here and now, but the man who has won two Grand Slams, reached a Rugby World Cup semi-final and will have led Wales on more than 120 occasions by the end of his third RWC campaign in 2019, is delighted with his countryman’s appointment.
“I would like to congratulate Wayne on the appointment and the honour of being named head coach,” added Gatland.
“Martyn and Gareth have been meticulous in their search and once they decided who the best man for the job was, they have signed him up, putting any speculation to rest.
“From a Wales squad perspective, that’s all we can ask for, we can now focus on the challenge ahead and continue to build for RWC 2019 without any distractions.
“The World Cup is a key focus and Wayne’s early appointment will help us keep that focus. Additionally I’m determined to ensure that Wayne is given the best possible opportunity to succeed in this job when he starts after the World Cup and I will do everything I can to help him.
“With the announcement now public we can plan properly and ensure smooth transition to benefit the future of Welsh rugby.”
Shock results in West Wales Conference
THERE were more surprise results in the West Wales Conference last weekend as Aberystwyth slipped to defeat against Talybont while UWA Commoners were also beaten by Tywyn and District.
The weekend’s other result saw Aberaeron extend their lead at the top of the table with victory over Aberystwyth Seconds.
On Sunday (Jul 8), Aberystwyth batted first against Talybont and made a good total of 219-7 from their 40 overs.
Aber lost opener Zaid Khan early on when he was caught by Sojan Varghese off the bowling of Philip Abraham for a score of 9 and Nigel Salmon made 8 before being caught by Abraham off the bowling of Josheff Joshi.
Abraham then trapped Ted Trewella leg before and also bowled Johnny Cordy for a duck. Ioan Morris made 10 but he was also bowled by Anish Kuriakose who later bowled Iestyn Evans for a score of 1.
Rhodri Price batted well at the top of the order as he made 69 before being caught by Abraham off the bowling of Dave Barrow.
Rob Rudge and Ifan Thomas then took Aber past 200 runs with the pair finishing unbeaten on scores of 50 and 31 respectively.
Talybont made a steady start in their reply with Dave Barrow scoring 20 before being caught and bowled by Zaid Khan.
Vinod Matthew made 36 before being caught by Iestyn Evans off the bowling of Nigel Salmon. The runs kept flowing as Josheff Joshi made 44 but he was then caught by Rob Rudge off the bowling of Rhodri Price.
Sojan Varghese was run out by Zaid Khan for a score of 1 and Graison John departed on the same score when he fell to the bowling of Salmon.
Anish Kuriakose then made 14 before being trapped leg before by Salmon.
Phil Abraham had been the mainstay of the innings with a score of 62 but he was eventually removed when Zaid Khan dismantled the stumps.
That left Huw Chambers at the crease and he finished not out on 15 to guide Talybont to victory.
Tywyn earn second win despite Bhatia century
Sunday’s other game produced the second shock result of the weekend as Tywyn and District earned just their second win of the season with victory over second placed UWA Commoners.
This game was a real high scoring encounter with Tywyn posting 292-7 from their 40 overs.
Richard Rees was trapped leg before by Guy Baron early on for a score of 21 but an excellent partnership between Callum Taylor and James Bradbury-Willis followed.
Bradbury-Willis hit six fours and a six in a score of 62 but he was then caught by Jacob Hughes-Pickering off the bowling of Rakesh Bhatia.
Runs continued to flow as Ed Iffla hit eight fours in a score of 41 before he was bowled by Umar Aslam.
Taylor made an excellent century with 18 fours and three sixes, scoring 107 before he was caught by Will Copeland off the bowling of Bhatia.
That did not stop the flow of runs as Dave Jenkins hit five fours and a six as he added 52 runs to the total.
The Commoners hit back late on as Bhatia had Jack Williamson caught by Neil Stent and Matthew Maslin caught by Ravi Mander.
They knew they would then need to bat well to reach their target and the made a good start to their reply.
Neil Stent made 16 before being bowled by Richard Rees and Ravi Mander scored 19 before he was caught by Callum Taylor off the bowling of Rees.
Umar Aslam was run out by Rees on a score of 7 as wickets continued to fall.
Rakesh Bhatia made his way to a half century but then saw Jacob Hughes-Pickering caught by Taylor off the bowling of Jenkins for a score of 20.
Will Copeland scored a quickfire 14 with two fours and a six but he was out to the bowling of Jenkins and Richard Lucas was then bowled by Taylor. Guy Baron scored 16 but he was then run out by Taylor.
Bhatia was the undoubted star of the innings as he made his way to remarkable score of 162 with twenty fours and eight sixes. He was then caught by Jack Williamson off the bowling of Taylor.
With that wicket, the Commoners’ hopes faded and they finished all out on 282, just ten runs short of victory.
Aberaeron ease past Seconds
Saturday’s (Jul 7) game was more straightforward as league leaders Aberaeron earned a ten-wicket win over Aber Seconds.
The Seconds won the toss and chose to bat but they were all out for 107 as Hywel Rees and Sion Lewis both took three wickets.
Ted Trewella was the first to fall when he was caught off the bowling of Simon Mitchell for a duck and he also then bowled Jack Page for a duck.
Dafydd Jones and Zaid Khan offered some resistance but both fell victim to Rees who had them caught by Louis Fice and Chris Strange for scores of 18 and 21 respectively.
Rees then claimed his third wicket as he had Alwyn Davies caught by Neil Snowdon for a score of 8.
Steff Rees then joined in on the action as he had Owen Keyworth caught by Mitchell for a score of 11.
Ioan Morris also offered late resistance with a score of 23 but he was then bowled by Sion Lewis. Steffan Davies was then bowled by Paul Hughes and Tomos Williams fell in the same manner to Lewis.
Lewis then had Bryn Morris stumped by Fice as the Seconds’ innings came to a close.
Aberaeron’s openers J Fice and David Grinszpan were then untroubled in their reply as they guided their side to a comfortable win.
Grinszpan was not out on 46 with seven fours while Fice hit ten fours as he finished unbeaten on 52.
On Saturday (Jul 14), two teams that lost last weekend will be in action as Aberystwyth play host to the UWA Commoners.
On Sunday (Jul 15), Talybont face league leaders Aberaeron and Tywyn & District will be looking for another win when they take on Aberystwyth Seconds.
Celebrating sports in Ceredigion
CEREDIGION Sports Council held the 2018 Ceredigion Sports Awards on Friday, July 6, at Penmorfa, Aberaeron.
The Ceredigion Sports Council looks to help all sports clubs from grass roots level to the pinnacle of achievement as internationals.
The Chairman of Ceredigion Sports Council, Councillor Gareth Lloyd said: “This event is organised in partnership with Ceredigion Actif and brings together all that is good about local sport and the people who make it happen. Sport, physical activity and healthy lifestyles are very much a living part of our culture in Ceredigion’s communities.
“We need to continue to invest and develop people and places for future generations to benefit. A deserved thank you to all our supporters, to Sport Wales and Disability Sport Wales for their contributions. Also, to Ceredigion County Council, who have backed us for over a quarter of a century.”
Ian Carswell, from the Teifi Boating Club was awarded the prestigious award of ‘Ceredigion Sports Coach of the Year’ and Mr Eirian Reynolds was awarded the ‘Disability Sport Wales Volunteer Award’.
The ‘Young Volunteer of the Year’ was awarded to Catrin Davies who gives a great deal of her time to activities within the school and the community of Tregaron. The ‘Bronze Young Ambassador of the Year’ was awarded to four pupils from Plascrug School, Aberystwyth while the ‘Young Ambassador of the Year’ was presented to Osian Davies, a pupil from Ysgol Bro Teifi.
Another esteemed award that was presented during the ceremony was the ‘Unsung Hero Award’. This award was established three years ago, in recognition of people who dedicate a great deal of their time and effort ‘behind the scenes’ of sports clubs and teams. This year, Tricia Chapman who is a committed volunteer at Ceredigion Netball won the award.
Cabinet Member with responsibility for Learning Services and Lifelong Learning, Councillor Catrin Miles said: “Ceredigion County Council is proud to have backed Ceredigion Sports Council for over 25 years as we ensure achievements within sport are recognised and celebrated.
“We are fully committed to supporting the many sporting activities and opportunities here in Ceredigion. Congratulations to everyone who has been awarded and it’s inspiring to hear of the number of fantastic local sports people we have in our county!”
Wales 7’s Head Coach, Gareth Williams presented 23 sports people with a commemorative certificate in recognition from the Ceredigion Sports Council for becoming internationals and representing Wales for the first time in the past year.
The ‘Talented Junior Individuals Award’ was given to 20 successful applicants of a grant. The grant is to assist talented juniors of school age in their pursuit of excellence to provide training, attendance at competitions and sports equipment.
Active Communities Manager, Steven Jones said: “I’m very pleased with how successful the awards have been. It’s a testament to the number of promising sports people from Ceredigion who’ve gone on to hail success at an international level and we wish them the best of luck for the future.
“It’s also been an opportunity to show recognition to the people who provide support and vision from the beginning; the coaches and volunteers and also to the budding young ambassadors that are delivering exciting new sports projects to others in their schools and communities.
“At Ceredigion Sports Council, in partnership with Ceredigion Actif, we’re pleased to be able to continue to provide support and funding for clubs across the county.”
For more information of the work of Ceredigion Actif and Ceredigion Sports Council, visit: www.ceredigionactif.org.uk.
Large crowds expected for Bow Street Junior tournament
LARGE crowds are expected this coming weekend (Jul 14-15) for yet another huge occasion for Bow Street Football Club.
The club will be staging its sixteenth consecutive annual junior tournament. Since the inaugural tournament in 2003, the event has rapidly grown in to one of the most prestigious and successful in the whole of Wales.
The tournament is organised by the Spar Mid Wales League team, and games will take place on 9 different pitches at the club’s Cae Piod ground.
This year has again attracted an excellent number of entries with over 125 teams applying to participate in the nine different categories.
Teams from as far as Pwllheli and Pontyclun will participate on the two days, and competition takes place on Saturday at under 6’s, under 8’s, under 10’s and under 11’s. On Sunday, teams compete at under 12’s, under 14’s and under 16’s.
For the fifth year running there will be specific all girls categories, which will take place on Sunday at under 12 and 14 age groups.
The Wales Assistant Manager, Osian Roberts paid a visit to the event on the Saturday last year and stated on social media that he was very impressed by a ‘fantastic grassroots tournament’. This year, Wales Ladies international, Hannah Miles will be present on the Sunday. 20 year old Hannah is from Bow Street and played for the junior section of the club for many years.
Bow Street chairman Wyn Lewis said: “We are very proud that this tournament continues to go from strength to strength, and it is obvious from the entries that amazingly, its popularity is still increasing. It is incredible that many of our categories were full a couple of months in advance of the tournament. We are very grateful to the clubs from all over Wales who continue to support us.
“As a club we are once again grateful to Richard Warrender and family who own the Subway franchise in Aberystwyth for their kind generosity and commitment in sponsoring the event for the fifth consecutive year.”
One of the tournament organisers, Amlyn Ifans said: “This year has attracted an exciting number of entries yet again, and we look forward to an enjoyable two days competition and know that the weather is going to be very favourable! It is marvellous that a small village community club continues to facilitate such a prestigious event, which gives our own junior players valuable experience of challenging players from outside the locality.”
One of the original organisers, Allan ‘Baba’ Evans said: “I am so chuffed at the way this event has developed since we started it in 2003. I am so proud of the way that the whole club and the community have embraced the annual tournament.”
Play starts at 10.00am on both days, a wide variety of refreshments are available, and, as ever, there is ample parking space.
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