Wayne Pivac has stepped down as Wales head coach and will be replaced by his predecessor Warren Gatland.
Gatland will take charge of the Six Nations and the Rugby World Cup next year, and potentially the 2027 tournament.
The decision follows a review by the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) into a dismal autumn campaign, which included a first defeat against Georgia.
Former Scarlets manager Pivac took over from fellow New Zealander Gatland after the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
But in the 60-year-old’s last year in charge, Wales have won just three out of 12 games.
Gatland is Wales’ most successful and longest-serving manager, having won three Grand Slams during his 12-year reign. He also guided Wales to the semi-finals of the 2011 and 2019 World Cups.
In his final season, Wales climbed to the top of the World Rugby rankings after recording a 14-game unbeaten run.
Gatland is leaving Super Rugby side Chiefs to return to Wales before Christmas.
Pivac’s three-year tenure saw Wales slip to ninth in the table, having won 13 games, lost 20 and drawn.
2022 has been a particularly disappointing year in which Wales suffered home defeats to Italy in the Six Nations and Georgia last month.
His highlights include a 2021 Six Nations title and a first Test win on South African soil this summer.
Gatland said he was “very eager to get back”, with his immediate priorities the Six Nations and the World Cup.
“It’s an opportunity to achieve something with a talented group of players in a country so passionate about rugby,” he said.
“A country that welcomed me and my family so well when we arrived 15 years ago, and all the time we were there.
“There is little time for feelings, professional sport is about preparation, values and results.
“There will be new challenges as there always are with a change of head coach, but for me the environment, the players and their families will always come first.
“We must prepare to the best of our abilities in the time available. We will value and respect each other, we will work hard and, if we are successful together, performance and results will follow.”
Pivac said he was “extremely sad” to step down after what he called a “rapid review process” of the fall campaign.
“Unfortunately, the results or performances this year have not all been as we hoped. As a group we all take responsibility for that, but me in particular as head coach,” said Pivac.
“We’ve played really good rugby at times, but we needed to do it more consistently. However, I know there is a solid foundation for the team to progress to great things in the future.
“I want to thank the players, coaches, management and the WRU for their commitment, support and hard work during my time as head coach and to everyone in Wales for making me feel at home. me here for the past eight years.”
WRU chief executive Steve Phillips said the decision had been difficult with Wales kicking off their World Cup campaign in just 10 months.
“This is one of the toughest calls to make in sport, but the review process came to a conclusion and we acted quickly and effectively in the best interests of our national team,” he said. declared.
“At the end of the day, we are in the results business and we have agreed with Wayne that Wales’ current trajectory is not where we want it to be.
“We sincerely thank him for his unquestionable time, enthusiasm, diligence and effort as head coach over the past three years.”
Phillips added that they are bringing “one of the best coaches” back to Gatland and are “extremely excited” about this final chapter.
“We were sorry to see him go when he left and we’re glad he agreed to come back,” Phillips added.
“He will undoubtedly be able to make an immediate impact, just as he did when he first joined us in 2008.
“But it has also been important for both parties to ensure that we get the absolute maximum from the return of such an experienced and highly valued person.
“It is for this reason that we are particularly pleased to have been able to secure Warren’s services for the next few years with the possibility of going to Rugby World Cup 2027.
“This appointment is not a magic bullet, nor a band-aid, it is part of our long-term planning for the game in Wales.”
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