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Pivac is Gatland’s successor

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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.”

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Sport

Felinfoel ease past Baglan

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FELINFOEL’s Anthony Matthias took five wickets to set up a comfortable eight wicket win for his side against Baglan on Saturday (Jul 14).

Matthias tore through the top order to leave Baglan reeling on 65-5 and they were unable to recover, eventually being bowled out for 104.

Matthias struck early on when he had Rhys Gaskins-Davies caught by Craig Richards for a score of 4 and he then had Martin Rees caught by Julian Griffiths for a second ball duck.

Jonathan Lewis and Josh Lyddon did offer some resistance with a stand of 41. However, Matthias returned and had Jonathan Lewis caught by Stuart Parmenter for a score of 21.

Moments later Lyddon was caught by Julian Griffiths for a score of 23 and Matthias wasn’t done there as he had John O’Leary stumped by Andrew Thomas for a duck.

Stuart Parmenter then had Jason Carpenter caught by Andrew Thomas for a score of 13 and Rhys Harries had Steven Kempton caught by Jonathan Cheal.

Parmenter trapped Martin Lewis leg before while Rhys Harries bowled Craig Jewell.

Taylor Rees offered some resistance with a score of 28 which included three fours and two sixes before being caught by Andrew Thomas off the bowling of Cheal.

Felinfoel lost two early wickets in their reply as Andrew Thomas was bowled by Taylor Rees for a four-ball duck and Rees also had Rhys Harries caught by Jason Carpenter for a score of 2.

Despite those wickets, Rhys Jones and Julian Griffiths shared an unbroken stand of 100 to send Felinfoel to victory.

Rhys Jones hit six fours as he finished not out on 29 while Julian Griffiths hit fourteen fours as he finished not out on 64 from 51 balls.

On Saturday (Jul 21), Felinfoel will be looking for another win when they travel to bottom of the table Cimla.

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Dafen and Felinfoel earn derby wins

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IN Division 1 of the South Wales Association Cricket League last Saturday, Dafen earned victory over Carmarthenshire rivals Llandysul.

Llandysul batted first in their game with Dafen and they were bowled out for 186 in 49 overs.

Opener Gary Williams got Llandysul going with a score of 84 and Rhidian Harris scored 12.

Ben Edkins scored 52 but when he fell to the bowling of Philip George, Llandysul suffered a late batting collapse.

Their remaining batsmen failed to make it into double figures as they went from 161-4 to 186 all out.

George finished with excellent figures of 6-21 from his 10 overs while Chris Hudson also took three wickets.

In reply, Nicky Davies made an early score of 32 before he was caught off the bowling of Andrew Edwards.

Simon Davies scored 19 and Matthew Evans top scored as he hit ten fours in a knock of 69.

Jonathan Randell then finished not out on 27 to help Dafen to victory by five wickets.

On Saturday (Jul 14), Dafen will look to pick up another win when they take on Gorseinon while Llandysul travel to Merthyr Tydfil.

The other game in Division 1 saw Bronwydd beaten by second placed Cowbridge.

Cowbridge made 250-8 from their 50 overs and had opener Thomas Merilaht top scoring on 91.

Ben Wright scored 40 before he was bowled by Matthew Vaughan and Tatenda Chiradza scored 27.

Brad Evans scored 37 and Jack Cropper scored 15 but no other batsmen made it into double figures as Bronwydd hit back.

Dafydd Morgan finished with excellent figures of 4-36 while Pauluge Gihan Secstus Fernando took three wickets.

In reply, James Cales scored 23 and James Dickson scored 38 while Oliver Furneaux scored 22. Meirion Davies scored 44 but that was as good as it got for Bronwydd.

Three wickets apiece from Brad Evans and Nicholas Wood ensured that the Carmarthenshire side were bowled out for 174.

On Saturday (Jul 14), they will be looking to get back to winning ways when they host Maesteg Celtic.

Division 2

FELINFOEL also earned a derby victory over Llangennech as they beat them by 88 runs.

The home side batted first and were all out for 201 despite looking well set to make a good total on 166-3.

Opener Andrew Thomas scored 19 and Rhys Jones scored 36.

Julian Griffiths scored 24 while Rhys Harries was their top scorer with 81 as he hit 12 fours and a six.

Felinfoel then collapsed as Gareth George, Simon Clement, James Taube and Matthew Jones all took two wickets for Llangennech.

The visitors lost wickets at regular intervals in their reply as Hedd-Wyn Jones and Scott Lloyd both scored 10.

James Taube was his side’s top scorer with 33 runs, Matthew Jones scored 15 and Stuart Goddard made a late score of 21 but it wasn’t enough to help them to victory.

Tom Jones took four wickets for the loss of 25 runs for Felinfoel while Rhys Harries took three for the loss of 19 runs.

On Saturday (Jul 14), Felinfoel will look to keep their recent good run going when they take on Baglan.

Llangennech will look to get back to winning ways as they travel to Briton Ferry Steel.

The other game in Division 2 saw Drefach beaten by Maesteg.

Drefach batted first and scores of 59 from Dafydd Humphreys, 36 from James Carter and 62 not out from Owen Donovan helped them post a good total of 210-5.

Maesteg’s Andrew King then set his side on their way to victory with an excellent century. He was out on a score of 107 but other scores of 32 from Lloyd Wilkshire and 15 not out from Chris Parry saw them to victory.

Rob Seymour took two wickets for Drefach but the defeat means they stay third from bottom in the table.

On Saturday (Jul 14), Drefach will look to take themselves away from the drop zone as they travel to fourth from bottom Skewen.

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Llanelli slip to defeat

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JUST a week after their excellent win over Carmarthen Wanderers Llanelli suffered a disappointing 216-run defeat at the hands of Clydach in Division 2 of the South Wales Premier League.

On Saturday (Jul 7), Clydach won the toss and elected to bat and that proved to be a good decision as they posted a challenging total of 263-5 from their 50 overs.

Jonathan Hubschmid hit five fours and a six as he scored 57 while McKenzie Squires scored 25.

Sam Davies hit ten fours in a knock of 88 but he was then run out by Marcus Leaf as the home side did their best to keep the score down.

However, James Garland smashed three fours and a six in a score of 28 from 14 balls as Clydach piled on the runs late on.

Jack Todd then hit three fours and two sixes in a knock of 38 not out from 20 balls.

Llanelli struggled in their reply as only one of their batsmen, Marcus Leaf with 17, made it into double figures.

Jamie Lewis was in fine form for Clydach taking seven wickets as he had Leaf caught by Liam Garland, Iwan Rees trapped leg before and Steven Devonald caught by Christopher Donne.

Lewis took further wickets of Matthew Roberts, Ryan Nicholas, David Richards and Morgan Jones as Llanelli limped to a disappointing total of 47 all out.

Llanelli will look to put this defeat behind them when they take on Newport Fugitives away on Saturday (Jul 14).

Wanderers bounce back

CARMARTHEN Wanderers had better luck on Saturday (Jul 7) as they beat Panteg by three wickets in a high scoring game.

Panteg won the toss and elected to bat and they posted an excellent total of 236-8 from their 50 overs.

Will Bragg was the star of the innings for Panteg as he hit nine fours in a score of 103 before he fell to the bowling of Gareth Thomas.

Akhtar Balouch made 29 before being out to the bowling of Owain Binding and Daniel Wilkinson added 46 runs to the total.

In reply a score of 75 from Thomas got the Wanderers off to a good start and they also had captain Leighton Walters and Owain Davies make scores of 35.

Liam Rogers then finished not out on 43 to see the Wanderers over the line.

On Saturday (Jul 14), the Wanderers will be looking for another win when they take on third placed Penarth at Trinity Fields.

Ammanford up to third

AMMANFORD moved up to third place in Division 1 after they beat Ynysygerwn by 45 runs.

They made a solid start to their innings with Rhodri-Huw Davies making 56 and Elis Richards scored 17.

Daniel Roberts was the mainstay of the innings as he hit seventeen fours and a six in a score of 120 from just 95 balls.

He was run out by Josh Griffiths but that scored helped Ammanford post an excellent total of 272-7 from their 50 overs.

Alex McCormack scored 40 as the visitors made a steady start to their reply and Darren Thomas scored 77 and although Josh Griffiths finished not out on 20 Ynysygerwn fell short of their target on 227-9.

Matthew Fisher bowled well as he took four wickets and Sean Coaker also took two.

On Saturday (Jul 14), Ammanford are at home again as they take on fourth placed St Fagans.

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