Wayne’s World . . . Two Defence Coaches As Byron Hayward And Shaun Edwards Climb On Board With Wales

Run for it!

Graham Thomas

Graham is a well known sports writer in Wales. He shares with the Eye stories on his other blog at http://www.dai-sport.com
Run for it!

Wayne Pivac looks likely to be working alongside both Shaun Edwards and Byron Hayward with Wales next season.

The Scarlets head coach – who takes over from Warren Gatland after the World Cup – appears to have persuaded the Welsh Rugby Union to employ both defence coaches in his management team.

Hayward’s departure from the Scarlets has been confirmed, while Edwards’ distancing himself from job offers with Wigan and Wasps – as reported by Dai Sport at the start of the week – seems to have paid off.

The WRU were always keen to retain Edwards, but stalled over offering him a new contract for fear of boxing Pivac into a corner.

The New Zealander wanted to bring Hayward on board with Wales, alongside backs coach Stephen Jones.

Now, the WRU appear to have found the cash and the structure to hire two defence coaches from October, with Edwards set to continue his 11-year stint of commuting from his home in London to Cardiff.

Edwards’ move back to rugby league was put in doubt when he revealed he had not signed a contract with Wigan.

That alerted Wasps, where director of rugby Dai Young confirmed he was keen to give a job to Edwards, who worked at the club alongside Gatland before the pair left for Wales.

But that move also cooled and his hand with Wales was strengthened by this season’s Six Nations Grand Slam triumph, which owed much to the defence masterminded by Edwards.

With the Scarlets thrashing Zebre 42-0 at the weekend, Pivac could yet be leaving the region with a place in next season’s Heineken Champions Cup confirmed.

They could even make this season’s Guinness Pro 14 play-offs if they beat the Dragons on Judgement Day – their last game of the regular season – and other results go in their favour.

“Our hopes are still alive and that’s important,” said Pivac.

The play-offs for the Pro14 title involve the top three teams in each conference who automatically qualify for the 2019-20 Heineken Champions Cup.

The teams finishing fourth in the two conferences will have one more chance to qualify for Europe’s top flight next season, via a play-off match. The Conference A fourth-placed side will be Cardiff Blues or Ospreys.

Europe is important for us,” said Pivac. “We are proud to say we have been in the top echelon of European rugby every season and we want to maintain that.

“Top three is mathematically still possible so never say never and the results this weekend have shown that.

“We have to get our part right in the game against Dragons and see what happens. Hopefully at the end of it we are not sitting fifth, we are either fourth or third.

“The points difference we built up against Zebre was also important and could help us at the end.”

“I was pleased we were able to put a Scarlets stamp at the end of this game for the fans and players who enjoy performing like that.

“I have been very fortunate. Not only have I come to a great club where we have had some success along the way but I have also made some great lifelong friends.”

The post Wayne’s World . . . Two Defence Coaches As Byron Hayward And Shaun Edwards Climb On Board With Wales appeared first on Dai Sport.


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