Gatland to Wales if manager Pivac leaves

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Wayne Pivac (left) and Warren Gatland talking after Wales' Autumn Nations win against Argentina in November 2022
Wayne Pivac (left) and Warren Gatland talking after Wales’ Autumn Nations win against Argentina earlier this month

Warren Gatland is the leading contender to return as Wales manager if the Welsh Rugby Union decides to replace Wayne Pivac.

Ten months before the start of the World Cup, the WRU takes a look back at the dismal autumn campaign which will take into account Pivac’s position.

Wales suffered three defeats against New Zealand, Georgia and Australia with a single win against Argentina.

Gatland could be in line for an interim role until the World Cup in France.

No official decision has been made to part ways with Pivac and no formal deal agreed with Gatland.

Scott Robertson, Steve Tandy, Ronan O’Gara, Brad Mooar and Steve Borthwick have also been considered, but Gatland remains a prime target.

Wales managers, players and supporters will now await the outcome of the review which is expected to take at least a week.

Remarkable return?

Gatland left Wales in 2019 after 12 years in charge in which the team won four Six Nations titles and reached two World Cup semi-finals.

He initially returned to New Zealand to become the head coach of the Chiefs.

After being appointed head coach of the British and Irish Lions in 2021 for a third time, Gatland suffered a 2-1 series defeat against South Africa.

Gatland returned to the Chiefs as director of rugby but has been in Europe for the past month commentating on games for Amazon Prime, including three Wales internationals.

During coverage of Wales and Australia on Saturday, Gatland said he had not received any contact from the WRU about any potential role.

Pivac is in danger of paying the price for Georgia’s defeat, which came eight months after their first Six Nations home defeat to Italy.

This was followed by surrendering a 34-13 lead against a depleted Australia side, with the Wallabies scoring 26 unanswered points to claim victory.

Wales have lost nine of 12 games in 2022 and have suffered 20 defeats in 34 games during Pivac’s three-year tenure.

There have been highlights with a first Test win for Wales over the Springboks in South Africa in July, plus the 2021 Six Nations title success.

Pivac says he remains in his role and will travel to France on Sunday to see the World Cup venues.

Meanwhile, prop Ken Owens says the autumn internationals had been difficult “for a number of reasons I wasn’t going to go into today”.

“As for us as players, we’ve worked hard, we’ve stuck together, we’ve made mistakes,” Owens told BBC Radio Cymru.

“Consistency and discipline have not been good enough over the four games.

“It is what it is. We have to stay tight, see what happens and hope that Welsh rugby will sort itself out.”

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